Do we really need storage to operate the renewable grid of the future?
While it may seem obvious that wind and solar “need” energy storage to be successfully integrated into the world’s electricity grids, both detailed integration studies and real-world experience have shown that storage is only one of many options that could enable substantially increased growth of these renewable resources. This talk will discuss the potential role of energy storage in the integrating wind and solar, demonstrating that in the near term perhaps less exciting—but often more cost-effective—alternatives will likely provide much of the grid flexibility needed to add renewable resources. The talk will also demonstrate that the decreasing value of PV and wind and at increased penetration creates greater opportunities for storage. It also demonstrates the fact that “the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind always doesn’t blow” is only one reason why energy storage may be an increasingly attractive solution to the challenges of operating the grid of the future.
Paul Denholm is a Principal Energy Analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. His research examines the technical, economic, and environmental benefits and impacts of large-scale deployment of renewable electricity generation He leads efforts at NREL to understand the role of energy storage in integrating wind and solar energy, and the value of deploying energy storage on the grid. He acts as an advisor to multiple government, academic, and industrial research organizations and has co-authored over 100 articles related to renewable energy integration.