Why is now the best time to think about an energy storage system?
Government incentives are available to speed up deployment of battery technology, a vital element in the transition to a low-carbon economy
Published on Thursday, 10 December 2020
The storage of energy
In a world that increasingly depends on data flows for its functioning, the storage of energy and its controlled release are key technologies that through smartphones and laptops underpin much of daily life at work and at home.
The battery technologies that power the supercomputers in our pockets are, when scaled up and linked together to form battery energy storage systems, also helping to change the shape of the energy industry. Storage system benefits include freeing renewable energy production from the vagaries of the weather by allowing power to be stockpiled when the weather permits – when the sun is up, or the wind is blowing – for use when it is required.
Batteries can also be recharged from the grid when demand is low and electricity is cheap, for example overnight. This all adds up to increased penetration of renewables, to everyone’s benefit – in homes, cities and businesses.
An enabling technology
By amplifying the importance of renewable power sources that by their nature are intermittent, lithium-ion batteries are reducing the role of giant power stations and putting individuals and businesses front and center in the transition to a low-carbon economy. As such, they are a key enabling technology and play an essential part in establishing a new model of sustainable development.
Energy storage incentives
Governments around the world are mindful of the benefits of battery energy storage systems, or BESSs. For this reason, they have introduced a variety of energy storage incentives aimed at both business and consumers.
In the US at the federal level, a bill under consideration and backed by the Energy Storage Association, would extend eligibility for an investment tax credit that currently only applies to storage of solar-generated power to other renewable sources. The lobby group argues that widening the scope of a tax credit would potentially be more impactful and immediate than any other policy. The tax credit that is currently available applies both to businesses and households, but the residential part is being phased out and finishes from the end of the 2021 tax year, while the business part falls to 10% from 30% at present.
However, at the state level, jurisdictions led by California, New Jersey, Maryland and Nevada are introducing their own statewide incentives, with Massachusetts, New York and Hawaii looking set to follow suit. California, the nation’s most-populous state, is furthest ahead in the implementation of incentive programs.
Europe’s storage incentives
In Europe, both the UK and Germany have seen an acceleration in storage deployment in recent years, while countries such as the Netherlands have put in place pilot and support schemes, including initiatives that promote storage of solar energy in the batteries of electric vehicles. Earlier this year, Austria launched a 36 million-euro rebate program for solar-plus-storage installations, of which 12 million euro will subsidize storage. The government of Italy’s Lombardy Region has a similar program worth 10 million euro aimed at public bodies.
Enel X is a leader in BESSs based on cutting-edge lithium-ion technologies. However, a BESS also requires software to govern the controlled release of the energy stockpiled, together with the power to deliver advanced management of energy consumption that makes use of the latest developments in the field.
Enel X offers a range of battery energy storage solutions, governed by its DER.OS (Distributed Energy Resources Optimization System), a cloud-based, end-to-end optimization system that sets it apart from the competition. Business and residential customers can benefit from so-called behind-the-meter storage solutions, turnkey installations that are designed to meet the specific needs of any client, funded through a variety of customized models.