Energy Storage : the key to Energy Transition

 

Energy storage has played an important role in balancing supply and demand for electricity grid networks in the past few years. It will play an important role in the future. The secure integration of an increasing variety of renewable energies demands a more flexible power system. Therefore, energy storage may provide this flexibility and will represent a crucial key to the energy transition.

The increasing usage of renewable energy sources, mostly solar and wind, extend promising opportunities for struggling with global warming. However, the way to the all-important energy transition is still strewn with stumbling blocks. Nowadays the main difficulty is to manage the delicate balance between electricity production (that is now more variable), demand that relatively fluctuates to consumer behavior, and growing usage of electric vehicles and new technologies. Wind and solar energy depend on weather conditions. Renewable energy facilities cannot be modified in response to changing consumer demand, in contrast with fossil-fired power plants. At the same time, the expanded usage of smart grids might contribute to efficiently managing these variables and offer more flexible responsive power as soon as production, demand, and storage of these types of power will put into operation.

The energy transition, which aims to replace fossil fuels by renewable sources, relies on the capacities of networks and, progressively, on the storage of electricity. The latter solution is often essential to store solar energy produced during the day or the wind energy that blows during low electricity demand.

On July 22th, 2015, the French Parliament adopted the law “on energy transition for green growth”. Very ambitious objectives for the share of renewable energies in the energy mix have been set. France aims for a share of 32% by 2030. At the European level, 27 member countries have set an objective of 20% of renewable energies for 2020 and then 32% in 2030. For its part, the International Development Agency energy (IEA) envisages a five-fold increase in the share of solar and wind energy worldwide by 2040.

The main component of smart grids is energy storage. Storage involves both a system to save excess energy for future usage and a source of additional power when demand exceeds production.

Progress in new technologies, particularly in the field of batteries, compressed air power, power-to-gas, and flywheels, has made these solutions progressively viable in the last few years.

Lithium-ion batteries could credibly be used in the short term to store electricity in factories, business offices, houses or vehicles. Thus, energy storage would become a key part of a flexible and responsible smart grid powered entirely by renewable energy.

A flow battery is an emerging solution in this regard. It engineered on the basis of more widely available and less hazardous raw materials, these batteries also stand out for the negligible level of degradation during their usage.

Due to their distinctive technology, stored energy, and the power output which are not intrinsically linked, while this product specifications makes them particularly suitable for storage systems connected to renewable power stations.

 

Sources:

Science Direct
Research Gate

A propos de Jihane AFRIHI

Ingénieur en Génie Énergétique et Energies Renouvelables, actuellement étudiante en Master 2 Gestion et Droit des énergies et du Développement Durable à l'Université de Strasbourg.

Jihane AFRIHI

Ingénieur en Génie Énergétique et Energies Renouvelables, actuellement étudiante en Master 2 Gestion et Droit des énergies et du Développement Durable à l'Université de Strasbourg.

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