Energy News Network published commentary by TAEBA's Suzanne Bertin and CTEI's Matt Welch on the promise of energy storage for Texas. Read excerpts below and the entire Energy News Network piece here (This story was also reposted by Energy Central).
The phrases “turning winds” and a “a new sun rising” are often used to describe change, and these metaphors could not be more appropriate in describing our energy system today, as the wind and sun themselves are driving the transformation. Even the casual energy observer has noticed that the Texas wind rush is on.
Texas by far has the most wind capacity installed than any other state and solar is gearing up for a red hot run in the coming years. Wind and solar are powerful forces in their own right, mainly given their ever lower costs and their rare ability to provide some long-term stability in a turbulent world. The U.S., including Texas, has deployed large numbers of wind turbines and solar panels and deployment will continue to grow.
But once another emerging technology — cheap energy storage — shows up, they might very well explode onto the landscape. That is on the verge of happening. You can’t make the sun shine at will or the wind blow when it doesn’t want to. Thus, in that regard, these technologies have earned some fair skepticism. The past and current strategy has generally been to use other dispatchable power plants and flexible demand to help respond to variability in wind and solar output when balancing supply and demand on the grid.
This strategy has largely worked because there have been plenty of dispatchable power plants available and the Texas electricity market — the best, most competitive and efficient in the world — makes sure they are compensated fairly for their services. Today, we are much better at predicting changes in wind and solar output and thus are in a much better position to manage them. Wind and solar deliver energy at some of the lowest costs of any source and new technologies keep making them cheaper and easier...