The Answer to Grid Instability is Not a Quick Fix—It’s Long-Duration Storage | By Craig Evans, President & Founder

Aug 6, 2021

As Congress was ironing out details of a trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure bill, power grid experts in Texas were issuing the nation a stark reminder. The difficulties plaguing the grid that left millions of people without power in early 2021 have not gone away. In fact, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the Texas grid, reported in July that there had already been 1,280 unplanned summer outages.

Houston, we still have a reliability problem. California, which recently declared a state of emergency to prevent blackouts as firefighters contend with extreme heat and an early start to wildfire season, has a problem too. A centralized grid, once the only option, now stands in the way of reliable service for all electricity users. Long-duration storage and microgrids can provide a flexible network of distributed assets delivering the resiliency the grid needs.

At the same time, Wall Street investors have signaled a rapidly growing preference for assets that rate highly for environmental, social, and corporate governance factors. Anyone looking at lithium batteries as a long-term solution for grid stability will have to take a more expansive look at energy storage. When you do, you will see that ESS flow battery systems meet world-class ESG standards and are ready to scale – just as the market for long-duration storage is poised for exponential growth.

Stability in the age of fire and ice white paper imageThe latest ESS white paper, Grid Stability in the Age of Fire and Ice: How environmentally sustainable, long-duration energy storage is starting to firm a shaky grid, explains why long-duration batteries that use safe, earth-abundant materials are best positioned to drive market growth and prevent power outages in the years ahead.

The paper details some of the environmental and sustainability red flags that market analysts, governments, and NGOs have raised over the extraction of raw materials used in lithium battery production and inherent risks associated with lithium batteries at the end of the product lifecycle. Mining poses an almost limitless threat to wildlife. As just one of many examples, miners plan to extract manganese, cobalt, and other battery materials from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, possibly endangering a poorly understood deep sea ecosystem.

The paper also explores growth drivers for long-duration energy storage, use cases for batteries that can store energy for up to 12 hours, and a case study where a project developer paired ESS batteries with renewable hydropower in the Patagonia region of Chile to dramatically reduce diesel fuel consumption and costs, while ensuring a safe supply of clean energy.

Download Grid Stability in the Age of Fire and Ice to find out how ESS flow battery systems can help communities in Texas, California, and elsewhere transition to a more reliable future where we can count on electricity without putting people and planet at risk.