Picture a battery that’s the size of a tractor trailer. If you need to store more power, just add more trailers and wire them all together.
That should give you a pretty good idea of what energy storage is all about.
The U.S. now has more than 550 megawatts of these “virtual power plants” hooked up to the electric grid.
And we’re starting to see energy storage become a big deal in what might seem like an unlikely place.
Virtual Power Plants
Much of the United States’ storage capacity is in place in California and Arizona. (More battery storage is coming online in Texas as well.)
Those are all places where wind turbines fill an increasingly larger proportion of the regional power-generating load.
When the power grid doesn’t need all that electricity, the battery systems are standing by to store the excess.
And according to recent reports, Mexico appears ready to join the energy storage parade.
Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission recently told energy storage experts that it’s in the market to buy up to 2,300 megawatts of storage over the next decade.
South of the Border
Renewable energy like solar and wind is a big hit with residents and businesses in Mexico’s Baja region. But officials say the unreliable nature of renewables is starting to strain the power lines in the region.
So Mexico’s energy commissioners want to install at least 20 megawatts of energy storage in Baja to absorb the excess power from all those solar panels. The stored power can then be released when needed.
According to published reports, Mexico plans to increase its wind power generation by 400% through 2020. That means it will likely need to add even more energy storage to make full use of this inexhaustible resource.
It’s a scenario that plenty of other energy markets, in the U.S. and around the world, are coming to terms with. And it’s a key reason why I’ve made energy storage a part of the Total Wealth Insider portfolio.
Jeff L. Yastine
Editor, Total Wealth Insider