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  • [ July 25, 2013 ]
  • Risk of energy breakdowns have utilities seeking other options

With rising summer temperatures, utility officials are working to reduce energy consumption at peak usage hours to prevent grid overloads and breakdowns. By providing “demand response” programs that reward customers for cutting power at peak times, utilities are able to provide “negaawatts” – saved energy that cushions the electric grid against demand surges.

These demand-response programs not only benefit customers by crediting their account for cutting down on energy usage, but also benefit the entire city by potentially cutting peak electricity demand by up to 72,000 megawatts, or approximately 9.2%, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Along with these demand-response programs, other energy-overload-prevention tactics are making their way to the market, including a battery from Eos Energy Storage that may be able to provide affordable energy storage on a larger scale – large enough to ease the strain on utilities. Steve Hellman, Eos’s president said about the battery, “Energy storage is no longer an idea and a theory — it’s actually a practical reality.”

The battery could not only ease utilities concern power blackouts by providing back-up power, but also save money by eliminating the need to use energy from the grid at peak hours, when it’s more expensive; help reduce congestion on transmission lines, and help integrate renewable sources like solar and wind into the power grid by providing energy when the renewables cannot. Although the battery is still in early development stages, utilities are already starting to explore this energy-storage option and Eos is hoping to have them up and running next year.

Sources:
Reward for Cutting Power at Peak Times, Wall Street Journal
Battery Seen as Way to Cut Heat-Related Power Losses, New York Times

 

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