The USAID-NREL Partnership developed a suite of resources within the Grid Integration Toolkit that provides information about the role that battery energy storage systems (BESS) play in integrating variable renewable energy, such as wind and solar, into large-scale power systems. As part of the Greening the Grid platform, the Grid Integration Toolkit provides a breadth of resources related to integrating variable renewable energy with the grid.
The role of grid-scale BESS has gained prominence, in large part, because of the increasing need for power system flexibility, coupled with the rapid decline in the cost of storage technologies such as lithium-ion batteries. More utilities and governments are seeking to determine whether battery storage is a cost-effective option for enabling power systems to integrate large shares of variable renewable energy.
The Grid Integration Toolkit seeks to answer common questions and dispel misconceptions around energy storage by offering comprehensive resources to address the topic's complexities, including:
- The Grid Integration Toolkit's topic overview for Energy Storage
- A fact sheet titled Grid-Scale Battery Storage: Frequently Asked Questions
- A webinar titled Utility-Scale Battery Storage: When, Where, Why and How Much?
These resources provide technical synopses about storage location, chemistry and sizing options, the range of services storage can provide to a power system and the means of compensation for BESS service provision. They also offer concrete steps and case study examples that showcase how to make energy storage work for a power system, its utilities, and its customers.
While energy storage presents an enormous opportunity to improve power system operations, many power systems can support variable renewable energy integration using other methods, such as system operation improvements or conventional generation flexibility. The appropriate amount of grid-scale battery storage depends on system-specific characteristics, and analysis is always required to understand whether investment into energy storage is the most appropriate option.
Visit Greening the Grid for more resources and guidance to address the technical challenges to grid modernization.
Isabel McCan is a Communications Project Coordinator at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism Studies from the University of Denver and is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration from the University of Colorado Denver.