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Enel X’s energy storage system

The benefits of energy storage for sustainability

Battery Energy Storage Systems make power consumers the main players in the energy transition

Published on NOVEMBER 11, 2019

Batteries are a key technology

Energy storage devices are now basic components of a growing number of modern-day devices – and much more besides. Indeed, from waking up to the alarm on a smartphone, to working on a laptop and driving home in the evening in a hybrid or fully electric vehicle, it would be tough to perform many of our daily tasks without the lithium-ion battery.

 

 

In 2019, Akira Yoshino, Stanley Whittingham, and John Goodenough were awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry “for the development of lithium-ion batteries,” in recognition of the central role the products have assumed in our lives. 

 

Technology has turned today’s smartphones into TVs, books, organizers, heart rate monitors, as well as communications devices. Electricity is what powers all of these features, but without batteries, we’d be perpetually stuck next to a power socket.

Electricity is central to modern life

The elements that rendered the smartphone such a groundbreaking device are the same that underpin smart cities and industry 4.0, the paradigms of a new sustainable development program that brings in cities, businesses and factories. Scientists and engineers are already developing tools that improve industrial production, mobility, comfort levels in households, and even education and healthcare. Electricity is the lifeblood of each system. Without batteries, we couldn’t access and use them in an effective and durable way, meaning we would waste energy and incur higher costs, all while damaging the environment.
By storing, then releasing, energy as required, batteries have become the central link in the combination of technology and electricity that is changing our lives. That has given them a key role in establishing a new model of sustainable development. That is because the most accessible renewable power sources are typically intermittent. Batteries overcome this limitation, warehousing energy when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, and releasing it overnight, or when the wind drops.

Combining batteries with smart management

Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are platforms that couple the energy storage capacity of batteries with the software needed to deliver advanced management of energy consumption by harnessing AI, Machine Learning and data-driven solutions. This is how batteries can offset climate change, foster the development of renewable sources, to help reduce carbon emissions and even deliver lower costs for businesses and households.

 

The operating principle is straightforward. Batteries receive electricity from the power grid or straight from the power station and subsequently store it to then release it when it is more convenient, while the software manages the charge and discharge cycles based on real-time needs and availability.

Battery Energy Storage System

Battery Energy Storage System

Integrated solutions to save energy and boost your business

A far-fetched solution comes of age

For a long time, the idea of stockpiling energy as a way to carefully manage its use only when really needed was regarded as far-fetched. Constant innovation and the brainpower symbolized by the three Nobel winners set the stage for the emergence of cutting-edge systems like BESS.s These unleash a wide range of solutions for efficient and sustainable energy use that deliver economic and environmental benefits.

 

Today, renewable energy production is no longer tied to the immediate availability of sunshine and wind, as it can be managed efficiently by using the electricity generated in low-consumption periods and storing it when renewable sources are available, while energy demand is lagging behind. 

Hence, this is a way to increase the penetration of renewable sources in the electricity grid by removing the obstacles related to intermittent generation.

 

Energy storage systems can also address the energy consumption management of households, whole neighborhoods, small businesses, and large factories. By stockpiling energy based on specific needs and releasing it only when needed, energy waste, dispersion, and costs are all reduced.

Making sustainable transformation happen

BESSs are the key to real sustainable transformation – the storage and management of energy flows and consumption levels ensure business activities can effectively combine cost savings, efficiency, flexibility, and resilience. Even power grids are set to become smart systems, thanks to the onset of storage technology. The ability to store, then release, energy is the way to balance supply and demand, add small-scale private producers to the grid, while delivering overall efficiency in the way electricity is consumed.
A few years was all it took for batteries to usher in the smartphone revolution that put a wealth of high-tech solutions into our pockets. Today, they are at the core of a system that’s delivering the same groundbreaking revolution, only on a much larger, even global, scale, to the benefit of our homes, cities and businesses.