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Energy Storage Required

It is very easy to forget about the logistics of energy systems when there is so much drama and conflict surrounding the energy sources, but it is imperative that energy storage is not forgotten when a final renewable energy policy is implemented.

Producing a vast amount of energy from renewable sources is excellent, but it is generally accepted that a successful renewable energy policy will produce more energy than the demand calls for, which would require storage and preservation if intentions are to not waste the energy. This is not a new concept, nor is it foreign. Refrigerators solved the same storage problem for food; agricultural silos solved the storage problem for grain, etc.

What is different this time around is any storage system would be linked to the energy grid, which is an extremely difficult task. Further, if the energy grid is going to be modernized and prepared for the increase in energy being transferred through it, it could potentially change the technological logistics of getting a storage system up and running.

California is considering adopting requirements for utilities/utility companies to install grid-scale energy storage, which would be the first attempt at doing so in the country. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted unanimously to adopt a framework to analyze the energy storage needs of each utility, despite the measure being opposed by all three major utility companies in the state, along with a consumer watchdog group, Division of Ratepayer Advocates. The claim made is the fiscal costs associated with the installation would not benefit the customer in the end, due to rising costs with minimal increases in energy production and storage. However, utility companies are infamous for opposing such programs until it is regulated and required, so it is not surprising they were in opposition.

The important thing to realize is this: if there is a renewable energy program in place, energy storage will be a necessity. Otherwise it would be wasting energy, which is essentially a waste of the enormous effort made to implement a renewable energy program.

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