Elevate Renewables has stated that due to increased demand for electricity, major United States power plants require private investment in significant transmission upgrades, specifically by way of energy storage.
Domestic power plants have faced demand from population growth, technological advancements, electrification, and climate control, among other factors. According to the company, this means major upgrade investment is necessary to ensure the U.S. grid remains reliable.
The renewable energy development firm emphasized energy storage as the best solution for meeting this demand. Not only has energy storage been identified as a crucial piece in decarbonizing the U.S. grid, but the company also claims that the non-wires alternative is an affordable solution for supporting electricity infrastructure.
Battery energy storage systems (BESS) support renewable energy sources by storing excess energy that would otherwise go to waste and then reserving energy for high energy demand situations. Elevate Renewables claims that BESS resources may replace retiring power plants in order to cut costs instead of allocating investment for transmission upgrades towards other expensive repairs.
“PJM just directed Exelon to spend $785 million in transmission upgrades to maintain reliability at the retiring Brandon Shores power plant, located near Baltimore, Maryland,” said Eric Cherniss, founder and head of development at Elevate Renewables. “If a BESS resource was put in its place, we estimate that this number would be cut by 40% to 60%. This would be a prime example of where energy storage should be encouraged and incentivized to co-locate with existing or replace retiring thermal generation.”
Energy Storage Supports Overburdened Grid
The U.S. grid faces a number of challenges as it ages, such as damaging extreme weather events and instances of peak demand. Elevate Renewables said that battery storage addresses these concerns.
Rather than investing heavily in building more power plants or infrastructure upgrades, battery storage may be supported instead to provide additional electricity when demand peaks, both saving money and taking some stress off of the grid. Battery storage also acts as a backup energy source in case of power outages from extreme weather, equipment failures, or cyberattacks.
In terms of decarbonizing the grid, BESS supports solar and wind energy and may replace the need for so-called peaker plants, or high-emissions facilities used in instances of high energy demand. Additionally, research has shown that the cost of battery storage has dropped by 85% in the past 10 years, therefore providing a pathway for an affordable clean energy transition.