One problem with our grid is that load needs to equal demand. Thus, especially with renewable energy which can fluctuate in terms of power produced, being able to store power is becoming essential. Interestingly, some nuclear power plants already do this via pumped hydro.
But the power needs to be decentralized, hence the coming idea of Community Energy Storage (CES). Small battery packs are deployed in neighborhoods at the edge of the grid, just before it goes into individual homes.
Placing a utility-controlled device at the edge of the grid allows for the ultimate in voltage control and service reliability. Meeting this challenge of even greater control of voltage at the point of customer use is a major departure for traditional utility system control philosophy, but it’s needed to deal with a rapidly changing customer load profile. While customers are adding more sophisticated electronic loads (computers, appliances, etc.) requiring greater service reliability, new, even larger loads—such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) charging units—will be added randomly in the grid.
Such high-tech, remote-controlled CES units can even store the increasing amounts of solar power coming back into the grid via rooftops. Now we’re starting to get a smart grid!