Energy Storage Under Regulatory Uncertainty

by Emil Morhardt

A fundamental shortcoming of the US electricity grid is shortage of connected storage: the grid operators must instantaneously provide enough electricity to maintain an acceptable voltage and frequency by ramping generation up or down in real time, mostly using expensive CO2-releasing electricity from natural gas peaking plants, and if there isn’t enough demand to accommodate the electricity coming in from wind and solar, it just goes to waste. Amy L. Stein, writing in the Florida State University Law Review, does a masterful job of describing the existing energy storage facilities operating on the US grid, including hydroelectric pumped storage, compressed air energy storage, batteries, flywheels, and thermal energy, and the multiple grid services they provide. She then goes on to analyze the regulatory uncertainty that is partially responsible for the lack of grid storage, and makes an attempt at figuring out how to minimize it. This is a comprehensive document and worthy of reading by anyone interested in US energy storage initiatives.

STEIN, A., 2014 RECONSIDERING REGULATORY UNCERTAINTY: MAKING A CASE FOR ENERGY STORAGE. FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 41, 697. http://fla.st/Uyp4PQ

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