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CAISO investigates battery energy storage

Sam Peek Analyst

California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is investigating the potential in using batteries to bridge the gap between peak solar generation and peak demand, as well as other system services. It presented its learnings in a paper entitled Energy Storage – Perspectives from California and Europe on 3 December. Energy storage will have two key roles in the future energy markets – providing grid services and load shifting. Current deployment is largely based on the former, providing voltage and frequency control in the form of balancing and ancillary services to help grid operators manage power on their networks, especially in the face of falling inertia and rising generation intermittency. As storage becomes cheaper, this role is expected to move towards shifting generation or load and providing peak services to meet consumer demand, effectively operating in an arbitrage role. This will include smoothing renewables generation and enabling increased proportions of renewable generation to be integrated into national markets. As illustrated in this week’s Chart of the Week, CAISO highlighted that, in terms of immediate opportunities, the physical characteristics of batteries make them suitable for voltage and frequency control, but particularly for managing the challenge of ramping and managing the “duck’s back” challenge. This occurs twice daily, at dawn and sunset, where the amount of power being output from solar farms increases rapidly and independently from usage. Similarly, the evening peak tends to occur after solar output has declined. This creates two windows of high prices, each after ...

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