Energy storage and the end of the Solar Bonus Scheme

In this generation’s sharing economy, the concept of communal energy resources, collective energy purchasing, and community microgrids, the emergence of community energy storage (CES) is only logical. I learned recently that the concept involves the modular use of batteries at the neighborhood level to help integrate distributed energy resources and manage localized power quality issues and voltage fluctuations.

According to the Energy Storage Association, “Community energy storage entails utility deployment of modular, distributed energy storage systems (DESS) at or near points in the utility distribution system that are close to residential and business end users.” The ability to “island,” or electrically isolate a portion of the distribution system, means that CES can provide backup power during outage incidents.

Last week Commonwealth Edison announced that it has launched a Community Energy Storage (CES) pilot in Beecher, Illinois, about 20 miles south of Chicago, in an effort to explore the use of battery technology to reduce the impact of power outages and service interruptions in residential areas.

The utility deployed the PureWave Community Energy Storage system from S&C Electric. The CES unit features a 25-kWh lithium-ion battery and has been installed near Commonwealth Edison’s existing equipment and augment’s its capabilities. In the event of a power outage, the energy storage system is designed to quickly restore power to the group of customers it serves. And the transition from grid to battery source is nearly seamless.

“We want all ComEd customers to experience great reliability and that’s why we’re innovating and piloting emerging technologies such as energy storage to bring new value to communities and help improve service for our customers.” Michelle Blaise, SVP of Technical Services for Commonwealth Edison said. “We’re excited about the potential that battery storage offers to minimize the impact of a power outage while we continue to make progress in preventing them.”

The Energy Storage Association believes that “CES or some variation of CES could well become a standard solution used by the electrical utility engineer of the future.” What are your thoughts?