The nationally covered blackouts in The Bay Area last year was a pivotal point for accelerating policy & enabling battery storage to become a surging purchase in 2020.
Most people in the San Francisco region that were affected are pushing to have their systems up and running by utilizing Tesla Powerwalls and pairing it with solar. Driving sales for companies like Sunrun and local installers up due to heavily increased demand. This adds complexity but additional resilience to the grid with a distributed set of energy resources and generators to tap into across the US – hence Sunrun has moved to partner with companies like Autogrid to develop VPP and Demand Response programs with their system.
It’s great for the utilities and policy makers due to the fact consumers are opting for a more expensive energy storage system as opposed to a standby generator.
This energy storage boom naturally begs the question of –
How will policy makers and utilities actually adapt to make energy storage a worthwhile investment for individuals
Well as a starting point – FERC just had Order 841 upheld in court this Friday. This allows regional operators to form wholesale markets for energy storage with systems as small as 100 kWh. This is huge as now that additional capacity that is unlocked across the grid enables for battery systems to communicate and share stored power with local microgrids.
The resulting incentives and financial support that will be created in deregulated markets for electric retailers is going to be ridiculous. In a good way of course. With the potential for wholesale markets forming the cost of deploying or implementing energy storage at every property being built will drop precipitously.
This likely means we will see EVEN BIGGER grid scale batteries
This is something already happening, especially in San Diego – which has a monopoly on the biggest battery banks today.
LS Power the grid infrastructure focused Private Equity firm has built two of the biggest batteries in San Diego. Just last month they turned on the biggest one at 62.5 MWh of capacity.
The biggest system before this was built by LS Power for their 40 MW Vista project. However, with new incentives and increased demand from PG&E and other utilities throughout California will drive even bigger batteries to be deployed in order to sustain the aggressive climate positive goals set by policy makers.
About The Author
Swarnav S Pujari
CEO @ TouchLight | Founder of The Impact
Swarnav is the CEO of TouchLight, a utility backed energy company that develops software for nanogrids that accelerates solar payback periods by 1 – 3 years. He currently leads partnerships and product efforts within the company.
Concurrently, Swarnav founded The Impact to help provide open source tools, research and analysis to people passionate about tackling climate change. He also volunteers time with ClimateLink hosting regional meetups and was appointed the Chairman for the Town of Yorktown’s CSC Task Force, where he helps with legislation and sustainability efforts within the town.
Swarnav has a background in building physical products and has been working in the energy space for about 8 years. He also holds 2 patents and is active in the tech, energy and real estate industries.