Everyone understands that storage will play an important role in the energy transition, as we move from conventional thermal power plants that can be dispatched at will to energy systems predominantly supplied by variable renewables.
But important questions remain: how much storage will be needed? What type of storage is best? When will storage be most important? There hasn’t been a lot of great scholarship on these practical implications for deploying storage across the grid so far, but a multi-year project called the Storage Futures Study that was just completed by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) advances the literature considerably. The seven component reports of the Storage Futures Study explore when and where a range of storage technologies are cost-competitive, depending on how they're operated and what services they provide for the grid, as well as the role and impact of relevant and emerging energy storage technologies in the US power sector across a range of potential future cost and performance scenarios through the year 2050.
In this episode, we’re joined by Nate Blair, principal investigator of the study, to explain its findings and how their modeling was done. Nate is the Group Manager of the Distributed Systems and Storage Analysis group at NREL, and draws upon almost 30 years of experience in energy systems modeling and energy analysis, including nearly two decades of work at NREL where he held roles developing the System Advisor Model and PVWatts system modeling tools, as well as the ReEDS electric grid planning model. He has deep expertise in this type of modeling and walks us through all of the findings of this important new study.
In this lagniappe episode, we ask: what are some unanswered questions about the energy transition from five years ago, but that seem answered today? And what are the new questions that have emerged over the past five years which remain unanswered today? Those are the topics of this first-ever joint production of the Energy Transition Show and the Interchange podcast, which is being delivered to the audience of both shows. And because it’s one of our two annual Energy Transition Show lagniappe episodes, we’re running the full show in front of the paywall, so that all of our free listeners can enjoy the whole thing as well!
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In this live conversation recorded at Stanford Energy Week in January 2019, Chris Nelder hosts a freewheeling chat with Jonathan Koomey about some of the things we think we know, and a lot of the things we don’t know about energy transition. They talked about:
the vogue concept in energy transition to “electrify everything,” sometimes also called “deep decarbonization”
how to reduce greenhouse gases that are not the products of combustion
the fast-changing trends in electric vehicles, and how we’re going to accommodate the loads of EVs on the power grid
the ways to move space heating and other thermal loads over to the power grid, and how we might be able to meet those needs without combustion or electrification
how much electricity storage we’ll really need in a deeply decarbonized future
how much seasonal storage we’ll need, and what kinds
differences between economic optimizations made today for a future 20-30 years off and technical optimizations made along the way
what the options might look like in 20-30 years, particularly if we are at the beginning of a vigorous and deliberate energy transition
whether space heating, transportation, and other loads might find themselves in competition for economic carrying capacity on the grid as they become electrified.
So join us for this wide-ranging romp through some of the more interesting questions in energy transition!
In this episode, energy expert Eric Gimon answers questions submitted by Energy Transition Show subscribers on a wide range of topics, including the non-climate effects of climate change; whether we even need to keep investing in climate research; what the reliable indicators of the global energy transition might be; how much seasonal storage we’ll need; whether science adequately informs energy policy; the outlook for market reforms that value storage; the outlook and potential role for solar thermal plants equipped with storage; and we finish with a deep dive down the rabbit hole of resource adequacy and reserve margins.