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How water can save solar: using bulk storage to flatten the duck

Power storage remains expensive, making it difficult to cost effectively store power for use when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow. However, this oft repeated statement does not represent the full picture because not all storage is created equal. While battery storage is seeing rapidly increasing deployment, it is not yet a cost effective solution for storing and discharging large amounts of power for longer time horizons. However, there are effective bulk storage solutions available today that can help address the grid challenges being created by increasing amounts of renewable generation.

New challenges are emerging for system operators, resulting from the addition of significant amounts of renewable generation—particularly solar generation—to the U.S. power grids. Perhaps the most significant challenge is related to what is referred to as the “Duck Curve,” a graph of net power demand over the course of a day that shows the timing imbalance between peak demand and renewable energy production. System operators must balance the surge of daytime solar generation with the corresponding lower daytime demand, followed by the rapid decline of solar generation and rapid climb of system demand during the early evening hours. Visually, a graph of this problem looks somewhat like a duck—hence the common term for it–the Duck Curve.

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