AVANGRID, Inc. recently completed the construction and deployment of four simultaneous pilot programs for energy storage technology. The move attempts to test, among other things, the viability of providing user-level energy storage tools that will give consumers on-demand access to electricity without tapping into the grid. AVANGRID subsidiaries, Rochester Gas and Electric and New York State Electric & Gas, are spearheading the exploratory project.
The Benefits of Testing Decentralized Energy Storage Technology
AVANGRID hopes to use the results of the test project to enhance the energy consumer experience by creating multiple benefits:
- Find cost savings opportunities
- Increase the grid’s environmental sustainability
- Proactive solution to the growing demand for energy
- Provide valuable insight into the workings of energy storage systems
- Create household level ability to store and use energy efficiently and meaningfully
AVANGRID’s Energy Storage Projects
The testing projects under NYSEG and RGE focus on energy storage technology for electric vehicles, home electrical systems, energy plant substations, and energy circuits.
Behind the Meter
Companies are provided with Tesla Powerpacks Systems that they can charge during off-peak hours and tap into the Powerpack in peak hours when energy prices are higher. If the solution proves effective, this will provide substantial cost-saving opportunities for end-users.
The same off-peak principle is used in this program but applied to NYSEG’s energy circuits instead of directly into consumer systems. If circuit-level storage solutions effectively address specific local needs, this will help free-up the grid during peak seasons without putting any zone in the grid at a disadvantage.
Electric Vehicle Energy Storage
Rochester recently installed battery-operated charging bays for Mesa electric cars in its Scottsville Road location. The program is testing the efficacy of battery-powered charging stations in quickly recharging electric vehicles.
Like NYSEG, RGE is also testing the benefit of off-peak charging and storage in their substation level. The program is focused on evaluating improvements of delivery effeciency and reliability during cyclical usage spikes like in hot summer days.
Energy Storage Testing is Really the Exploration of Empowering Consumers
The traditional path of providing and distributing electricity and other forms of energy uses a top-down approach. The energy authority in the area controls the generation and distribution of energy as well as upkeep of the grid.
This structure creates greater pressure on energy providers as the demand continually increases. The end result is a limited ability to address all the consumer needs all the time with a consistent level of efficiency and efficacy.
One of the possible solutions that AVANGRID is apparently considering is empowering end-users to store and manage their energy supply as they see fit for their consumption patterns. RGE and NYSEG are testing prototypes of small-scale energy storages that could be linked into household energy systems so that consumers can tap into it anytime they need.
Transitioning from Theory to Practice
In theory, this is a win-win solution for reaching New York’s target of at least 3,000 megawatts energy storage by 2030. Consumers get flexible access to the resource while freeing providers from distribution problems in cases of unexpected or cyclical peaks in demand. In actual practice, every single detail has to be pieced together to achieve the goal set by the state’s 2030 Energy Reform Vision. This is what AVANGRID’s testing programs aim to solve in the next two years. It may not provide all the necessary solutions, but will surely pave the way towards better energy storage technology.