Battery technology addresses a key challenge for renewable energy – storing surplus energy for uninterrupted power. Market research firm Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables predicts that by 2024, the U.S. will have 5.4 gigawatts of stored energy with a market value of $5.1 billion. This growth is driven by the increase in renewable energy sources that are added to the nation’s grid.
Whether developing a new renewable project that includes storage or adding storage to an existing site, there are many factors to consider. The first step is site selection. A stand-alone storage project that can store 100 megawatts may only need 20 acres or less, depending upon the design. The land requirements are much less than for other projects, so purchasing rather than leasing is usually the best option. Therefore, storage projects are often Greenfield developed at the outset.
Where should batteries be located? Utility scale batteries can be deployed in various locations including the transmission network; the distribution network near load centers; or co-located with variable renewable energy sources. Siting is important for the services that the system will provide. Determining the best location will depend on its use case.
Here is a 12-point checklist of action items for utility scale storage site identification and development:
Preliminary site selection and identification of parcel landowners
Fatal flaw analysis to determine site suitability
Conduct transmission right of way, easement and crossing analysis
Investigate economic and regulatory conditions for options, leases, or purchase agreements
Formulate site appropriate terms/offer for landowners
Draft acquisition documents: term sheets, option agreements, purchase agreements
Negotiate agreements with landowners
Collaborate with landowners, insurers, and title company to resolve outstanding issues
Negotiate easements and crossing agreements
Conduct title review and curative
Negotiate and execute curative documents
Prepare grant deed for ownership transfer
Grid storage is a key factor in the growth of renewables, enabling greater build-out of intermittent renewable resources and supporting reliability. It is clear that battery storage will play a defining role in how the U.S. energy infrastructure changes over the coming decades.