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Energy Storage

What is energy storage?

Salem Smart Power Center-sm.jpgOne of the central principles of the electric grid is that generation must match demand. In other words, we must provide enough electricity – at the right frequency and voltage – to meet our electric load at all times.

Because our electricity needs are not controlled and varies with the flick of a light switch, utilities use many tools to ensure we have enough power. Grid operators use sensors and many levels of management to make sure that power is delivered where it is needed. One of the challenges of bringing new renewable energy online is managing the variability of its generation to the variability of load – called integration.

Storing energy has the potential to change the fundamental equation and make the grid more flexible. Energy storage can offer buffers between generation and load, which reduces operational complexity, smoothes variable generation, builds resiliency in our distribution systems and backs up power for emergency services.

Typically, energy storage provides one of three services:

  1. Power quality – stabilizing power to ensure continuous quality (services available in seconds or fractions of a second)
  2. Managing variability and shifts – operational buffers (available in seconds to minutes)
  3. Grid-level services – system balancing over daily cycles (available over hours; significant amounts of energy delivery)

Sandia National Laboratories maintains a clearinghouse of state and federal policies as well as a list of projects, called the Energy Storage Exchange.

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Types of electricity energy storage

There are many forms of electricity-related energy storage. Most existing technologies fall into one of these categories: pumped hydropower, batteries, flywheels and compressed air.

One in-depth resource on electricity energy storage is the 2013 Electricity Storage Handbook. Page 29 of the main document contains a table with a general overview of the technologies, rate of electric dispatch and size of energy systems.
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Opportunity in Oregon

The Governor’s 10-Year Energy Action Plan (2012) states the following:

“Storage: Numerous storage options – including battery-based or pumped energy storage – can also increase the ability to balance out intermittent resources, such as wind or solar, and provide an alternative to building new infrastructure, such as transmission line expansion. As battery technology continues to become more efficient and the need to integrate more diverse generation resources increases, battery-based energy storage has the potential to offer a cost-competitive option.”

Currently, there are no pumped storage facilities in Oregon. But as of October 2013, Swan Lake near Klamath Falls is the most advanced plan in the Northwest. The project’s location can take advantage of the Northwest and California markets. Swan Lake would be a closed-loop facility with a capacity of up to 1,000 megawatts.

Portland General Electric’s Salem Smart Power Center includes a five-megawatt bank of lithium-ion batteries. The batteries can be used for renewable integration: for small-scale ancillary services in firming and shaping intermittent resources. The system can also be used to run the Center’s micro-grid for up to 30 minutes. In addition, the Center takes advantage of the traditional form of storage: back-up generators within its operational territory, including a solar array at Kettle Foods.
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Other efforts in the United States


The California Public Utility Commission recently adopted an energy storage procurement target for each utility by 2015, and a second target to be achieved by 2020. California has preliminarily set a utility procurement target of 580 megawatts each for Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric by 2020, with sub-targets by year and by storage class (transmission, distribution, customer). MORE >>

New York

The state of New York has provided $25 million to fund the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium to advance the storage industry in that state. In addition, the state provides innovation grants to developers. In April 2013, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announced $1.4 million in awards to six energy storage companies, including one electric vehicle application. MORE >>

New Mexico

The New Mexico legislature in 2013 issued a joint memorial that directs its state energy office to establish an energy storage task force and to deliver a report to the legislature. The task force has met twice and was to submit a report to the legislature by the end of 2013. The report will be a high-level look at barriers and opportunities. MORE >> 

New Jersey

New Jersey has convened an energy storage working group aimed at critical infrastructure. The state has dedicated $250,000 in grant funds for the first year of a four-year program. If successful, there may be more funding available in successive years. MORE >>
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Energy Storage Workshop

The Oregon Department of Energy and Public Utility Commission hosted an energy storage workshop on March 19, 2014.  The event, held at the White Stag Building in Portland, was also supported by the University of Oregon School of Law and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Oregon Energy Storage Workshop
March 19, 2014, 8am-4:30pm
White Stag Building
70 NW Couch St
Portland, OR 97209
In the first half of the workshop, two expert panels addressed the latest in deploying projects and the unique values of energy storage applications.  The second half consisted of roundtable discussions with an opportunity to report-back and summarize recommendations.
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Public Input on Design of Energy Storage Demonstration Project Opportunities

In August 2014, the Oregon Department of Energy sought comments to assist the agency in designing energy storage funding opportunities in the state. Through a potential partnership from US DOE, Sandia National Laboratories and the Clean Energy States Alliance, the department may offer a solicitation for demonstration projects in late 2014. The department sought input on the value of various energy storage demonstration project benefits; on various criteria which could be used to evaluate proposed demonstration projects; and on the relative merit of other demonstration project characteristics and benefits such as geographic location and the type or size of an awardee organization.

The department received comments from 1 Energy Systems, Enbala, Energy Storage Association, EQL, and Small Business Utilities Advocates.

The commenters told the department that there is a preference for siting energy storage resources at industrial facilities. Enabling an industrial facility to get value from the energy storage resource is consistent with another theme in the comments, that multiple system values should be optimized and any demonstration project should be judged on its total value to the electric system. Some commenters advocated for a utility ownership model, while others preferred ownership by an industrial customer or demand-side resource aggregator. Consistent in the comments is the key role of the utility company. Since the department did not receive comments from any utilities, an effort is underway to do targeted outreach to utilities of various sizes, ownership structures, and geographies to get more input.
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Energy Storage RFP Updates

​The Oregon Department of Energy is partnering with the US DOE Office of Electricity’s Energy Storage Program, and Sandia National Laboratories, to offer funds for an energy storage demonstration project in Oregon. Federal funds not to exceed $250,000 will be matched by up to $45,000 in state funds from ODOE and Oregon BEST.

The objective of the demonstration is to enable installation and continuous operation of an electrical energy storage system, or ESS, with a capacity of 500kW/500kWh or greater, connected to the transmission or distribution system. There is no preference of one energy storage technology over another for the demonstration. There are five high-interest applications, or “use cases,” as they are sometimes called:

  1. T&D upgrade deferral/management of peak demand
  2. Service reliability/resiliency
  3. Power quality/voltage support
  4. Grid regulation
  5. Renewable energy firming,  ramp control, energy shift

ODOE will give preference to projects that can demonstrate two or more use cases in the same demonstration.

Proposals are encouraged from utilities, energy storage technology vendors, energy service suppliers and electric customers including, but not limited to, municipalities, universities, and commercial and industrial businesses. Applicants that are not electric utilities must have a committed utility partner or include a letter of support from the interconnecting utility. There is a minimum cost share of 50 percent.

ODOE prefers projects that can be interconnected to the electric transmission or distribution system within 18 months of the award and the project must operate for a minimum of one full year. ODOE is excited about the opportunity to bring not only significant federal funding to the state, but also critical technical and programmatic support from the national labs, particularly Sandia National Laboratories.

An Oregon energy storage demonstration project supported in economic and technical assessment, permitting, acceptance testing, commissioning, and data collection by the experts at Sandia will bring long-lasting benefits to the recipient and the state.

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For more information...

For more information on these topics, please contact the Oregon Department of Energy’s Diane Broad at 503-378-4035.
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