A new bill in the California Assembly would mandate that electricity utilities store 2.25% of peak demand load by 2014 and 5% by 2020. AB 2514 was introduced by Attorney General Jerry Brown and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner. If it passes, energy storage will become common in California and this will help create a smart grid.
Our current grid, both state-wide and national, is old, creaky, and dumb. The amount of power produced must always match the power consumed because there’s no place to store extra energy. Conversely, a sudden surge in demand now means generating plants must act instantly.
With energy storage, those problems start to go away. A surge in demand can be met by using stored power. This could be seriously useful on those hot summer afternoons when everyone’s air conditioner is going. Some of that demand could be met by power that was generated the night before and stored.