A unit commitment study of the application of energy storage toward the integration of renewable generation
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To examine the potential benefits of energy storage in the electric grid, a generalized unit commitment model of thermal generating units and energy storage facilities is developed. Three different storage scenarios were tested—two without limits to total storage assignment and one with a constrained maximum storage portfolio. Given a generation fleet based on the City of Austin’s renewable energy deployment plans, results from the unlimited energy storage deployment scenarios studied show that if capital costs are ignored, large quantities of seasonal storage are preferred. This operational approach enables storage of plentiful wind generation during winter months that can then be dispatched during high cost peak periods in the summer. These two scenarios yielded $70 million and $94 million in yearly operational cost savings but would cost hundreds of billions to implement. Conversely, yearly cost reductions of $40 million can be achieved with one compressed air energy storage facility and a small set of electrochemical storage devices totaling 13GWh of capacity. Similarly sized storage fleets with capital costs, service lifetimes, and financing consistent with these operational cost savings can yield significant operational benefit by avoiding dispatch of expensive peaking generators and improving utilization of renewable generation throughout the year. Further study using a modified unit commitment model can help to clarify optimal storage portfolios, reveal appropriate market participation approaches, and determine the optimal siting of storage within the grid.