A Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) collects energy from an electricity grid or renewable power sources, such as solar and wind, and stores it using battery storage technology. Then, batteries discharge and release the energy when necessary—during peak demands, power outages, and in a variety of other applications.
Energy storage is the capture of energy produced at one time for use at a later time to reduce imbalances between energy demand and energy production. A device that stores energy is generally called an accumulator or battery. Energy comes in multiple forms including radiation, chemical, gravitational potential, electrical potential, electricity, elevated temperature, latent heat and kinetic. Energy storage involves converting energy from forms that are difficult to store to more conveniently or economically storable forms.
Some technologies provide short-term energy storage, while others can endure for much longer. Bulk energy storage is currently dominated by hydroelectric dams, both conventional as well as pumped. Grid energy storage is a collection of methods used for energy storage on a large scale within an electrical power grid.
Common examples of energy storage are the rechargeable battery, which stores chemical energy readily convertible to electricity to operate a mobile phone; the hydroelectric dam, which stores energy in a reservoir as gravitational potential energy; and ice storage tanks, which store ice frozen by cheaper energy at night to meet peak daytime demand for cooling. Fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline store ancient energy derived from sunlight by organisms that later died, became buried and over time were then converted into these fuels. Food (which is made by the same process as fossil fuels) is a form of energy stored in chemical form.
History: In the 20th century grid, electrical power was largely generated by burning fossil fuel. When less power was required, less fuel was burned. Hydropower, a mechanical energy storage method, is the most widely adopted mechanical energy storage, and has been in use for centuries. Large hydropower dams have been energy storage sites for more than one hundred years. Concerns with air pollution, energy imports, and global warming have spawned the growth of renewable energy such as solar and wind power. Wind power is uncontrolled and may be generating at a time when no additional power is needed. Solar power varies with cloud cover and at best is only available during daylight hours, while demand often peaks after sunset (see duck curve). Interest in storing power from these intermittent sources grows as the renewable energy industry begins to generate a larger fraction of overall energy consumption.
Off grid electrical use was a niche market in the 20th century, but in the 21st century, it has expanded. Portable devices are in use all over the world. Solar panels are now common in the rural settings worldwide. Access to electricity is now a question of economics and financial viability, and not solely on technical aspects. Electric vehicles are gradually replacing combustion-engine vehicles. However, powering long-distance transportation without burning fuel remains in development.
Battery Energy storage systems are capable of intensively exploiting energy resources, playing an important role in the unification, distribution and capacity expansion of distributed generation systems. This technology allows disseminating the use of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources in a sustainable manner, overcoming the problems of random energy availability and increasing the efficiency of the system as a whole, in addition to contributing to the reduction of environmental impacts.