Forbes: Energy Storage: Costly but Key to Power Production

Posted on May 01, 2012

By Ken Silverstein, Contributor Energy Central Editor

Ever wish you could just bottle up those beautiful sun shinny [sic] days? Well, some companies are trying to do just that — in the context of “energy storage.” Simply, that’s a technology that allows batteries or other devices to harness the wind and sun when they are abundant and to release that energy when they are not.

That would certainly help green energy make headway into markets, overcoming the argument that they are too unreliable. However, energy storage has other assets: If proven and cost effective, it would allow utilities to avoid investments in power plants as well as in transmission and distribution. It would also permit generators to operate more efficiently because they would run closer to full capacity for longer periods of time.

“Our grid storage products are commercial because they unlock value from existing customer assets,” says Chris Shelton, president of AES Energy Storage, in an interview with this writer. For utilities, that means existing transmission and generation are more efficient, eliminating the need to build certain power plants that are only used when the demand for energy is at its highest, he adds, noting that they can also improve the performance of wind facilities.

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