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Energy Storage for Grid Security and Modernization

By Phill Feltham

Opportunities for sustained innovation in the energy storage value chain

BY ADAM TUCK, National Research Council of Canada

Canada is in the enviable position of being relatively rich in natural resources and having one of the cleanest, least expensive, and most reliable electricity grids in the world. However, a decrease in infrastructure investments in the 1990s along with an increase in the integration of variable generation such as renewables, and an overall growth in demand means that major infrastructure investments are now overdue to allow for the efficient, reliable, and economic operation of the electricity grid.

The Conference Board of Canada has estimated that Canadian utilities will need to spend $300 billion over the next 20 years to respond to these challenges; consequently, increasing energy costs to the consumer.

These investments must be made without compromising reliability and affordability, nor growing sustainability priorities. The deployment of energy storage (ES) technologies close to the load is one option to help meet these needs at a reduced cost, giving end users multiple revenue streams for a single capital investment. At the same time, there is an opportunity to create new markets for the rest of the energy value chain, from material and technology providers to system integrators and engineering, procurement, and construction contractors. While there is much to gain, collaboration amongst these players will be critical to address outstanding cost, durability and market acceptance challenges.

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