By Kyle Rabin
When electric utilities or companies declare that they will need new power capacity to keep up with the growing appetite for electricity, most people think of new power plants and transmission lines. But some companies are proposing something novel: grid energy storage systems. One such company, AES Energy Storage, is pioneering this emissions- and water-free technology. Utility-scale energy storage technology -- which will no doubt be a much discussed cleantech topic in 2012 (and is already off to a quick start) -- can help to green the grid by enhancing renewable energy's role in meeting demand, particularly during peak electric consumption times of the day. It can also help to lower electricity rates for consumers.