The Importance of Batteries in a Flexible Future

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by | Feb 13, 2024

Sponsored Content by: GridBeyond

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The recent energy crisis has focussed the attention of policy-makers on security and affordability of energy moving focus away from the path to net zero. However, this has shown an underappreciation of the energy transition, as greater energy security and independence can result from a reduced reliance on fossil fuels and an increase of renewables providing focus is also on ways to increase flexibility in the wider system, according to the report Energy Trends 2024 — Targets, trajectories and temporalities — Contextualising net zero.

However, there are a series of issues connected to renewables regarding their intermittent nature and the integration challenges faced by grid operators. This challenge is further compounded by the diverse array of energy resources scattered across the power grid in terms of both size and location, requiring grid operators not only to take account of the system as a whole, but to manage and respond to in some cases very localized constraints.

Energy storage has the potential to transform intermittent clean energy — primarily derived from wind and solar — into a reliable source of 24/7 generation. As a result, the technology has seen tremendous policy support globally, as well as a large influx of capital from private investors seeking environmental, social, and governance (ESG) focused investments.

Electricity systems already require a range of ancillary services to ensure smooth and reliable operation. Supply and demand need to be balanced in real-time to ensure supply quality (e.g., maintaining constant voltage and frequency), avoid damage to assets on the system, and maintain supply to all users.

Batteries have great potential to bolster resilience in modern grids by smoothing imbalances between supply and demand and replacing fossil fuel “peaker” plants thereby supporting the move to net zero by helping overcome one of the biggest obstacles to renewable energy — the mismatch between supply and demand. Beyond this key benefit batteries can provide numerous other services to the grid and to customers. The further downstream batteries are located the more services they can offer to the system at large.

In this scenario, flexibility is crucial to maximize the use of battery storage and renewable assets. To achieve net-zero emissions, companies are redefining their strategies, embracing a flexible approach to energy utilization as a core asset in remaining competitive in this new landscape. Innovators are leading the way into a new era characterized by a strong emphasis on sustainability and efficiency, which are now considered essential rather than optional.

In the upcoming webinar “Energy Trends 2024” in partnership with E+E Leader, GridBeyond will examine the key trends that commentators — including GridBeyond’s experts — agree will be at the forefront of discussions about developments in the energy sector in 2024 and beyond. We look at the reality of, expectations for, and pathways towards net zero, evaluate whether we are on the right track, explore how the gaps can be bridged by action and technology, and ask what can be done by policy-makers, regulators, and industry to move the energy transition from target and trajectories to net zero.

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