Using big batteries to back up renewables was just an idea a few years ago, but now the technology is taking off in some concrete ways and more businesses — oil companies included — are eyeing their potential. Battery prices are still too high to be commercially viable in most stand-alone grid applications except in places where local conditions are just right, but a report from Arthur D Little noted that the cost of batteries is falling sharply.
“As prices for batteries go down, the degree of competition with competing flexibility providers such as gas-fired plants is only increasing ...so I do think there will be an effect,” the report’s lead author, Kurt Baes, told EI New Energy.
A particular advantage of grid battery solutions is the speed at which they can be installed. “Some of the lead times that I see in the industry, from concept to active asset, are three, four, five months sometimes,” versus the years it can take to get new interconnectors or gas-fired power plants up and running, Baes noted.