Calgary-based Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) published Electricity Storage Systems: Applications and Business Cases in June. The study examined the economics of three battery applications for electricity generation: “firming” for wind and solar, behind-the-meter for large organizations, and bulk energy arbitrage.
I interviewed CERI CEO Allan Fogwill about some of the benefits, as well as the challenges, of the new energy technologies and business models. There is one overview video and one video for each of the storage applications.
The takeaway from this study is that the renewables and storage is just not economic for arbitrage, where the spread between the buy and sell prices isn’t big enough to create profit for traders. Behind-the-meter applications are hit and miss depending upon a wide variety of factors. For renewables firming, storage is economic, or close to it, under ideal conditions where construction costs are low and generation capacity factors are high because the wind or solar resource is excellent.
Fogwill says the battery storage economics will improve over the next five to 10 years as the technologies get better and cheaper.
He makes an important point during one of the interviews about how Ontario was an early adopter of wind power, made mistakes that cost the province a substantial amount of money, which perhaps could have been avoided by waiting and learning from the experiences of other jurisdictions. Like California, a leader in the integration of renewables into its power grid.
On the other hand, jurisdictions like Canadian provinces can gain “first mover” advantages that come with getting in early, perhaps developing technologies or expertise that can be exported.
Executive summary – French
Interviews with Alan Fogwill:
#1 – Storage and wind/solar intermittency
#2 – Battery storage and arbitrage
#3 – Behind-the-meter applications