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Energy Transition Lab

Introduction to Energy Storage

Energy storage has the potential to transform the energy landscape across the United States. By storing energy, electricity can be redistributed from times of the day during which a surplus of energy can be generated to times of high energy demand. In the absence of storage, excess energy production may be curtailed, while high demand necessitates the use of expensive gas-fired peaking plants that only are active for a few hours each year. Wide implementation of energy storage may smooth out the energy demand curve, reduce the need for peaking plants, bring about significant resiliency benefits, reduce carbon emissions, and result in an overall reduction in costs.

Energy storage has been experiencing a dramatic increase in deployment, and this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. In fact, various forms of energy storage are already in use in a multitude of states across the country. Currently, pumped storage, or storage that relies on pumped water to harness potential energy, has by far the highest capacity of stored energy across the country, but other technologies have begun to catch up.

Image source: Bloomberg Finance L.P. and The Business Council for Sustainable Energy,
2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook (2017).

Types of Energy Storage

Batteries are probably the most widely-known form of energy storage, and make up an essential part of the industry, particularly when it comes to electric vehicles and integrating and adding value to variable renewable sources like wind and solar. But energy storage is so much more than the latest advancement in lithium battery technology – from pumped hydro to magnetic fields, energy can be stored in a multitude of ways and put to a wide variety of uses.

Image source: Bloomberg Finance L.P. and The Business Council for Sustainable Energy,
2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook (2017).

Continue Reading in Energy Storage 101 – 2nd Edition


See More Resources on Energy Storage


Learn More About the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance (MESA)

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