January 2, 2016

The Thermal Energy Storage Revolution Has Begun

Cold Storage, Supermarket

A new report from GreenTechMedia finds that energy storage capacity in the United States grew 243 percent last year – a sign the clean-energy revolution is here.

According to GreenTechMedia, 112 megawatts of energy storage were deployed in the fourth quarter of 2015. This was more than the combined total of all storage added in 2013 and 2014. We’re in a revolution with energy storage systems rapidly expanding across the country.

What’s driving this? Simply put, innovation. Some are big names like General Electric driving the thermal energy storage revolution, but others are unknown, like Calmac, Ice Energy and Viking Cold Solutions™. These firms are unknown now, but they could be household names in the near future.

“Energy storage is changing the paradigm on how we generate, distribute and use energy,” said Matt Roberts, Executive Director of the Energy Storage Association, in a news release. 

Energy storage has the attention of states such as California that have passed strong renewable energy storage requirements. There is also increased interest among large-scale commercial refrigeration and industrial power users who want to reduce their energy demands.

“With exponential growth predicted over the next couple of years, energy storage solutions will deliver smarter, more dynamic energy services, address peak demand challenges and enable the expanded use of renewable generation like wind and solar.” Roberts said.

This revolution is huge for renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Wind and solar resources are not consistent – the sun only shines half the day and wind can vary greatly— thermal energy storage can store renewable energy and distribute it when there is higher demand.

Using Viking Cold’s Thermal Energy Storage System to manage peak demand offers many benefits for commercial businesses with high refrigeration loads:

Thermal Energy Storage is ENERGY EFFICIENT for power generation because night-time electric generation:

  • Is produced more efficiently than daytime energy
  • Is transported more efficiently
  • Uses less source fuel

✓ Thermal Energy Storage is GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT because using night-time electric generation:

  • Makes renewables more viable
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduces connected electrical load
  • Reduces peak electrical demand
  • Reduces the need for new power plants and transmission lines

✓ Thermal Energy Storage is COST EFFECTIVE for commercial businesses because it:

  • Lowers refrigeration costs 25% to 35%
  • Can be used to shift peak demand up to 90%
  • Provides backup protection in case of power failures
  • May be used to “Right size” the refrigeration capacity for new builds
  • Provides flexible operation to take advantage of new rates or demand response
  • May be used to manage facility growth

Of the 3.9 gigawatts of energy storage capacity currently installed across the globe, the Department of Energy reported 1.7 GW is provided by thermal energy storage.

The GreenTechMedia report expects in the US, energy storage to surpass 1 GW in 2019, and hit 1.7 GW the following year, which will greatly increase the reach of clean energy and reduce the need for baseload power plants that use dirty fuels to generate power.

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