Many remote locations are forced to rely on power from diesel generators which come with significant cost, maintenance requirements, noise, and negative environmental impact. Microgrids can help communities become energy independent and in many cases more environmentally friendly. Renewables plus energy storage can act as the baseload power source of a microgrid and reduce the use of costly fuel generators.
Flexible, long-duration storage can serve a constantly fluctuating load, with generators called upon only when needed to recharge the batteries. This allows the generator to operate at peak efficiency, substantially reducing refueling costs and logistics.
A rapidly emerging and increasingly applied technology, ultracapacitors are capable of storing and discharging energy very quickly and effectively. Due to their many benefits, ultracapacitors are currently being utilized in thousands of different applications and considered in an equally diverse range of future applications. Ultracapacitors complement a primary energy source which cannot repeatedly provide quick bursts of power, such as an internal combustion engine, fuel cell or battery. The future horizon looks brilliant for ultracapacitors, which already rank as a powerful alternative energy resource.
Pumped hydroelectric storage offers a way to store energy at the grid’s transmission stage, by storing excess generation for later use. Many hydroelectric power plants include two reservoirs at different elevations. These plants store energy by pumping water into the upper reservoir when supply exceeds demand. When demand exceeds supply, the water is released into the lower reservoir by running downhill through turbines to generate electricity.
During periods of low demand (usually nights or weekends when electricity is also lower cost), the upper reservoir is recharged by using lower-cost electricity from the grid to pump the water back to the upper reservoir.