Are batteries the solution to intermittent renewables?
With traditional power resources, a home or business is connected to a local distribution grid so that it can be accessed 24/7. When using a renewable energy resource, back-up and storage resources must be included with the power generation opportunity. Those resources may come from solar or wind, however the sun only shines for part of each day and only if it’s not cloudy. Wind can be very inconsistent, reducing wind generator output that may not meet high demand, or peak, needs. The storage capabilities that would be required to ensure that customers have reliable service can push the cost of a new renewable energy system beyond what the average person or community can afford. Batteries are the most common solution to renewable intermittency, and although costs have come down, it is still very expensive to store the amount that is needed to be 100% renewable. To install enough battery capacity to handle MPW’s native load for the life of the solar array (30-35 years), the cost of the battery system alone is estimated to be around $1 billion.