Power Lines

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recent article titled, “Today in energy: batteries perform many different functions on the power grid,” features new data on the progress of utility-scale batteries and a helpful breakdown of the roles such batteries can play on the power grid.

As you might expect, the major headline here is that the U.S. is now seeing steady growth in the deployment of battery storage projects. Over the last ten years, installed utility-scale battery storage capacity has risen from only a few megawatts to over 700 megawatts.

Looking beyond just the totals, the rate of deployment has also ramped up over the last few years as battery prices continue to decline and the market continues to mature.

As we look to the role of batteries in shaping the future of our electric system, here are three insights that we drew from the article:

  • Utility-scale battery storage projects continue to gain in size and number while still trying to find their place in the RTO/ISO energy market world. These battery projects provide value in many ways but are still sometimes dismissed as not being true generators of electricity.
  • Similar to the early days of “intermittent resources” such as wind and solar, energy storage projects will require time and experience on the grid to determine how they can best provide value and service to customers and grid operators.
  • Given the many different types, sizes, and functions of battery storage projects, it will be helpful to have regulatory support at the state, regional, and federal level for a range of battery storage projects so distribution and transmission grid operators can experiment and learn how best to use this increasingly valuable, uniquely flexible technology resource.

Many stakeholders throughout the country who are engaged in this topic, including GPI, are still in the process of learning how to bring battery storage onto the grid and how to use it once it’s integrated. As prices drop and battery storage becomes even more cost competitive, the level of regulatory and procedural certainty will play an important role in getting battery projects developed and deployed. Part of the learning process is to increase our collective understanding of this technology and the barriers still standing in its way. So, in addition to the EIA article, check out our previous two-part series on battery storage:

Part One: Exploring Energy Storage Technology and Regulation
Part Two: Energy Storage Technologies and Their Value to the Grid

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