Laura Sanchez 2018-01-10 10:35:10
In the late 1880s, the Swiss Army purchased a new style of folding pocket knife for its soldiers. It was equipped with a tool able to open food rations in the field and disassemble the standard-issue Swiss rifle, the Schmidt-Rubin, which required a screwdriver. The knife was originally produced by a German manufacturer, but in 1891, Karl Elsener, owner of a Swiss surgical equipment company, began producing the devices. He developed a special spring mechanism that enabled him to attach tools on both sides of the knife handle, allowing it to hold twice as many appliances. The knives earned a reputation as an invaluable pocket tool during the 1940s, when World War II exposed them to adverse field conditions and large audiences of Americans. Today, they are iconic of great multifunctional engineering. Batteries are gaining recognition as a dexterous resource able to provide a myriad of energy services and support a more flexible modern grid. As the once unidirectional flow of power from centralized power stations to customers gives way to a system supported by integrated energy resources, battery energy storage technologies are a valuable component, often considered the “Swiss Army knife” of the power industry. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) validated this concept when, in 2016, it met to discuss ways in which energy storage could provide multiple services to multiple entities. The discussion resulted in a proposed rule (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking November 1727) that, if eventually approved, may allow energy storage participation in wholesale energy markets. And as it stands today, the United States’ energy storage market is predicted to grow from 336 megawatt-hours in 2016 to 7.3 gigawatt-hours in 2022. Historically, battery systems were deployed for singular-use cases, including commercial demand charge reduction, backup power, or frequency response. But utilities and project developers now recognize that revenue stacking with multiple value streams can enhance the value of their energy storage systems. As an example of capitalizing on the many attributes of batteries, the Village of Minster, OH, deployed a solar-plus storage system made up of 7 MW/3 MWh of batteries tied to an adjacent 4.2 MW solar photovoltaic power plant that successfully provides four revenue streams: frequency regulation in PJM’s market, transmission and distribution system cost deferral, power quality improvement, and demand charge reduction. In this landmark installation, considered the first municipal utility-owned solar-plus-storage project in the US, multiple parties benefit from a suite of services offered by energy storage. We find ourselves today in a new era of innovation—a moment that marks the emergence of intelligent solutions that encourage us to rethink current energy pathways. We honor this evolution with stories that offer technical insight to support the dynamic shifts taking place. In this issue of Distributed Energy magazine, we explore the extraordinary versatility and practicality of a variety of rapidly evolving technologies. For, much like the Swiss Army knife’s versatility and practicality, these advancements will change the way we live, work, and do business with their innovative designs and utilitarian brilliance. Energy metering today is not only about how much energy is used; it’s about where, when, and why. In “Embracing Energy Metering” (pg. 29), we share examples of ways that metering technology has evolved to provide increasing amounts of granular data and to perform advanced analytics to guide decision-making. Furthermore, today’s networked meters connect to building automation systems to support demand response strategies and are able to share information across organizations with multiple buildings. We explore Phase Change Materials (PCMs), compounds that can store and release energy, in “Phase Change Technology” (pg. 24). Heat energy is absorbed or released as the material changes from a solid to liquid state or vice versa. Through insightful case studies, we learn about how this incredibly versatile energy storage technology can be installed in walls or roofing to help reduce a building’s heat load and energy demand. Whereas in the past, energy storage was focused on a single purpose, often backup power, grid support, or self-consumption, in “Value Stacking” (pg. 10) we learn that today organizations can take advantage of multiple value streams and prioritize them to deliver a higher return on investment than ever before. Today’s intelligent optimization software helps facilities managers leverage their assets to deliver a multitude of benefits. In “Hot Water Heats Up” (pg. 43), we learn that district heating and cooling systems (DHC) use a central plant to generate steam, hot water, or chilled water that is distributed through a network of pipes to a group of buildings. As an example of technological multi-tasking, these traditional CHP units generate electricity while the DHC system capitalizes on waste heat to provide hot or cool water for several buildings. As we redefine the traditional grid system with integrated power sources, flexible and multi-functional distributed energy resources become increasingly valuable. While these technologies may not fit in your back pocket, they’re guaranteed to keep money in it. DE
Published by Forester Media. View All Articles.