Stacking Value for Energy Storage: Finding the Opportunities for the Northwest

By Linda Barney

The Pacific Northwest has arrived at a situation that requires consideration of expanded grid assets that provide more flexibility to improve system reliability and overall economic efficiency of existing assets. Efficient energy storage is often listed as the missing element in the energy stack. But this is changing as a variety of energy storage solutions are being developed. According to a 2016 McKinsey report, “Many people see affordable storage as the missing link between intermittent renewable power, such as solar and wind, and 24/7 reliability.”

Patrick Balducci

Patrick Balducci, Chief Economist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and moderator of the session at the upcoming NW Demand Response & Energy Storage Summit covering the topic of stacking value for energy storage states, “Energy storage has a number of attributes that provide tremendous flexibility to grid operators. The capacity to provide distributed, highly responsive energy means it can address the flexible operations required to integrate renewables and increase grid reliability. Measuring the benefits associated with energy storage systems is a complex task that requires a detailed characterization of the several ways an energy storage system (ESS) can generate grid value through the provision of transmission, distribution, ancillary service, bulk power and energy management services. The value of these services differs based on the location, scale, and technical characteristics of each ESS, as well as the operational needs and energy costs faced by the deploying utility.”

The Stacking Value for Storage session at the Northwest Demand Response + Energy Storage Summit will examine the various value streams of energy storage from the perspective of a national laboratory, a research institute, a utility, and an energy management software vendor. Balducci, panel moderator, indicates that the session will discuss the fundamental basis of valuing the services energy storage systems provide, and the results of recent energy storage return on investment studies.

Curt Kirkeby

Panelists will discuss the importance of correctly siting and sizing ESS to address specific grid challenges (such as addressing reliability problems for rural communities or deferring investments in costly distribution projects). Curt Kirkeby, Technology Strategist at Avista will discuss which value drivers are most important to AVISTA as a Northwest utility and which are most likely to be realized in front of the meter.

Mike Fife

Mike Fife, Chief Technology Officer, Demand Energy will describe the most important and likely value drivers behind the meter based on a number of projects they have worked on in New York and beyond. Finally, the session will explore the technical and economic benefits of energy storage deployed in microgrids, transactive campuses and in other special cases.

Giovanni Damato

Giovanni Damato, Senior Project Manager | Energy Storage – Distributed Energy Resources, EPRI and the final speaker on the session raises this issue, “The benefits of energy stacking is appealing, but will it be possible? While more services, such as energy storage provide more value, there are also more requirements—can they be satisfied?”

Other questions to be covered include:

  • Given the increased interest in storage providing stacked services, what are the practical considerations for assessing both value and impact (economics and physics) of performing multiple grid services with an energy storage resource?
  • What potential modeling frameworks are there for integrating value and impact into a single analytical approach?
  • Where are the current gaps and key research areas for assessing energy storage stacked services?

Join Smart Grid NW and nearly 300 others leading the way on demand side, energy storage and other flexible energy resources in the region to learn more about this topic and many others at the NW Demand Response & Energy Storage Summit, Sept 27 & 28 in Portland.


Linda Barney is the founder and owner of Barney and Associates, a technical/marketing writing, training and web design firm in Beaverton, OR.