A BESS system enables wind energy storage and solar energy storage so that more energy from renewable sources can be sent to the power grid.
Sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind power are adding much-needed capacity to the U.S. electrical infrastructure. But without the ability to store the extra energy they produce, that energy goes to waste. It’s little wonder that more and more utility-scale wind and solar farms are adding battery storage in the form of a battery energy storage system (BESS).
What is BESS?
These electrochemical energy storage systems are composed of high-tech rechargeable batteries that collect excess energy generated from a renewable power generation source and retain it for use at a later time, typically when demand peaks. A BESS can be deployed for solar energy storage or wind energy storage.
Most BESS systems use lithium-ion batteries, which rely on a lithium compound, though some use redox flow batteries, which rely on a liquid electrolyte solution. The systems include advanced software that uses algorithms to determine when energy is stored and when it is moved to the grid, which helps lower energy costs.
Benefits of BESS energy
Battery storage yields a multitude of benefits for utilities, other owners of solar and wind farms and power customers.
Helping utilities meet peak demand
Storing wind or solar energy with BESS shores up the energy grid by helping utilities meet peak demand. The energy may be stored when a farm generates more energy than expected due to favorable weather conditions, or when demand is low. It can later be moved to the grid when demand surges.
Solving the intermittency problem
Energy storage systems solve the intermittency problem posed by renewable generation. They help solar and wind farms keep a predictable amount of energy flowing, even at night, on rainy days or when the wind isn’t blowing.
Increasing grid sustainability
BESS systems enable the development of a grid that relies more heavily on renewable energy sources. With the addition of battery storage, renewable energy generation facilities can potentially reduce the need for more fossil fuel-based generation plants as total energy consumption grows.
Providing backup power in an emergency
In emergency situations, BESS energy can be used as backup power. For example, when an extreme heat spell strains the grid, or when a weather event such as extreme cold disables traditional power generation plants, BESS energy can allow utility customers to continue using essential cooling or heating systems and some electrical appliances, such as refrigerators.
Installing BESS facilities
Installing a BESS involves assembling panelized buildings or outfitting containers to house and protect the batteries. An interior shelving system for the batteries must be constructed, and HVT lines that connect the BESS to a substation must be added. Contractors who install a BESS system also need to pour a building pad to sit under the structure.
Leveling the ground, pouring the pad, moving the panel pieces into position, transporting the batteries and the shelving materials and installing the shelving requires a variety of equipment and tools, from skid steers to forklifts to hand tools. Partnering with a one-stop equipment vendor that has experience with BESS installations can speed the process.
United Rentals has the equipment, tools and expertise required to help contractors build BESS facilities ranging from 50MW to over 1GW. Customers can leverage Total Control® to gain visibility into their owned and rental fleets and save time and money by right-sizing their fleets.
The demand for BESS is growing. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that the United States will add a record-setting 46.1 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity from new solar facilities and 7.6 GW from new wind turbines in 2022. A BESS will be an integral part of many of these facilities. The faster and more efficiently solar and wind farms can install them, the better.