With Power Outages, Why Is Texas Waiting to Write the Rules on Battery Storage?

There is one fundamentally frustrating characteristic of electricity that we modern people struggle to understand, an issue we cry over every time the power goes out, that we shake our heads over when we talk about renewables. That is, electricity cannot be stored.Sure, you can store a little in your iPhone battery, and larger battery storage technology is in development. But batteries that would store solar energy during the day and release it back onto the grid at night, or batteries that could hold enough juice to keep the lights on in Dallas for a couple of days while Oncor repairs the lines damaged by the storm, that kind of storage isn't our reality. Not yet.Until recently, the reason was that battery technology was just too pricey for utilities and power companies to buy. But as the cost comes down, one of the holdups in Texas is a lack of regulatory rules and procedures to incorporate batteries into the grid. The Texas Legislature endeavored to address battery storage rules last session, but fell short. But the Public Utility Commission doesn't have to wait on the Legislature. It can write the rules itself now.According to McKinsey, the cost of a utility-scale battery storage system declined 20% per year between 2012 and 2017, and the consulting firm expects the trend to continue. Already battery storage systems are economical for some types of customers, such as commercial electricity users who need to reduce their peak electricity usage.  Continue reading...

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