Batteries have been widely applied to the needs of the solar and wind industries to offset intermittency of the generation of electricity and adjusts the time-of-day generation to match the peak period of use. The bigger application, only now being addressed, is to integrate large scale battery applications with the need to modernize and upgrade the antiquated grid system.
Large scale battery application in NYC (one MW/seven MWH) cost over a millions dollars and realized only a $35,000 annual reduction in electricity costs, but made it possible to eliminate the need for a third shift which reduced annual costs by $200,000. This battery was a long duration battery capable of supplying electricity for many hours.
The grid system of generation and transmission meets the peak needs of electricity users which may occur only a limited number of days in the summer for a limited number of hours. Users must pay a demand charge to ensure the availability of electricity when needed.
Grid-tied batteries can be used to offset the peak requirements and to store low cost night time generated electricity for that purpose. Long duration batteries are required.
The economic benefits that can be realized from eliminating a peak load situation are not adequate to justify the battery installation. There must be an application for the battery that provides the bulk of the economics needed to justify its acquisition, or the utility must share in the initial capital cost. As battery costs are reduced, this relationship will change.
To meet utility’s needs, batteries must be long-duration batteries providing capacity for multiple numbers of hours.
New battery technology, such as flow batteries using cheaper materials like zinc instead of lithium, tend to be longer duration batteries and are potentially lower in cost.