Energy Cast is a regular podcast featuring some of the top experts across all links in the industry chain. Those include coal, nuclear, efficiency, renewables, oil and gas, as well as top government researchers. Longtime project manager Jay Dauenhauer created it and has been hosting Energy Cast for several years.
Today we are talking about the right storage for the grid. I’m a huge fan of energy storage, and I probably bring it up more than renewable energy, which is the biggest driver for it.
The big questions for leaders in the utility space is what storage technology works best? Storage is expensive when you think about it. It’s not generation, it’s been built for the other generation that you can’t depend on to be there when you need it. Storage is the investment in reliability so that you can be more dependent on cleaner energy.
What we’re starting to see as my guests suggest, is the shift to storage that can produce power for longer durations, typically more than 4 hours. Batteries are great for these shorter stints. They can cover the times when wind and solar may not be producing when you expect them to be on, and they can produce power for those twilight hours of peak demand just as the sun sets.
But that is really only good by itself if you have up to about 20% renewables. Utilities and the public are chomping at the bit for nothing but green energy, 50% and up. Here’s where you need massive amounts of storage to cover those gaps.
In Episode 60 we visited the Bath County Pumped Storage facility in Virginia, which is a hydroelectric facility that is the world’s biggest battery. But it’s two lakes that pass water between them. Geographically challenging to replicate. In Episode 57 we discussed a compressed air energy storage project in Texas, where energy could be stored in an underground salt dome. There’s a lot of opportunities for that in the South for instance.
One of my guests today is storing liquified air as a storage medium. Theoretically it could be located anywhere and at any volume. And of course you’ve heard me talk about many non-battery storage options in other episodes.
As some utilities phase out conventional generation, commonly referred to as thermal like coal gas and even nuclear (which I’m not a huge fan of doing preemptively), in favor of intermittent renewables, you’re going to see a ton of storage projects come online. And that creates some exciting opportunities for those companies, both large and small.
And let’s not forget that storage can optimize these thermal resources so that they run more steadily, with storage eating up the surplus till later.
It’s one of the reasons the future is bright for this energy industry within the energy industry.
My guests today include four leaders in the energy storage space:
- Ken-Ichi Hino; Director-Energy Storage, National Grid Renewables. Formerly Geronimo Energy, they specialize in matching storage with renewable energy.
- Salvatore Minopoli; Vice President, Highview Power. This is the liquified air company I was telling you about.
- Erik Steimle; Vice President, Rye Development. The specialize in electrifying dams, and have recently moved into the hydro pumped storage space
- Kurt Waldner Director, Product Management & Strategic Marketing, GE Energy Storage, an industry leader focusing on battery storage
This was recorded as part of the PowerGen Plus Series of virtual conferences. I’ve hosted panels for PowerGen in the past and it was an honor to get such a qualified group of panelists together.
Before we got into the Q&A I asked the panelists to provide a few slides about their technology, which you can find a link to in the show notes.
I hope you enjoy my panel, “Next-gen Tools: Building an Energy Storage Ecosystem.”
That was my four storage power panelists from National Grid Renewables, Highview Power, Rye Development, and GE.
I want to thank all these companies for setting this up, as well as Larissa Fair at Energy Storage Association and Rod Walton and Teresa Hansen at PowerGen for letting me host this event.
You can find plenty of pictures for this episode, as well as the slides from the panel, on energy-cast.com, as well as on Instagram and Parler at host energy, and Twitter at Host Energy Cast.
All guests are sent the raw and completed audio the week of release. So far no complaints.
Be sure to leave us a positive review on iTunes. That gets the word out.
Music was produced by Shawn Stroope at Stroope Loops.
That wraps up Episode 101.
Be sure to join us next week—when we discuss an off-grid solution for electric vehicles.
Dauenhauer himself was previously executive director of the Clean Coal Technology Association in Texas. He also has worked as project director in power generation and transmission as well as a media analyst for TXU Energy prior to the $45 billion leveraged buyout of that company in 2007. A Louisiana native and proud graduate of Louisiana State University, his career began as a TV news producer before transitioning into the energy sector. Back behind the mic, Dauenhauer hopes to bring his experience working across several energy sectors to you in a program designed to be accessible to both the public and industry insiders. Dauenhauer also is a member of the POWERGEN International and DISTRIBUTECH International advisory committees. Clarion Energy is the parent company of Power Engineering, POWERGEN, DISTRIBUTECH.