Both industry and academia have with time come to recognize the significance and potential of energy storage as a prospective resource that can help create a balance between generation and load in power systems. Presently, the world is migrating towards renewable resources with variable renewable energy sources such as wind and photovoltaics. Maintaining the stability of a power system requires real-time balancing of the energy that is consumed and produced. Recent trends are focusing on utilizing distributed energy storage systems by both small residential and commercial users so as to integrate variable renewable energy and reduce electricity bill. Cost, policy, and control efficiency limit the profitability of distributed energy systems and hinders the incentive of both small residential and commercial consumers to purchase the distributed energy storage systems. Among recent power grid and internet technological advances, resource sharing make possible a better utilization of distributed energy systems resources.
Tsinghua University and University of Washington researchers developed a novel way of using energy storage – cloud energy storage – a grid-based storage service that enables ubiquitous and on-demand access to a shared pool of grid-scale energy storage resources. The team aimed at describing how this state of the art technology would be realized and how it is capable of providing energy storage services at substantially lower cost. They also described the cloud energy storage enabling technique that supports both the needs of residential distributed energy systems and the optimal operation of storage resources. Their research work is now published in Applied Energy.
Chongqing Kang and colleagues commenced by conducting empirical works where by, firstly, they proposed the concept of cloud energy storage which utilized central energy storage facilities to provide distributed storage services to residential and small commercial users. They then developed and described the architecture, enabling technologies and operation mechanisms that would facilitate the cloud energy storage. The team then designed the business model of cloud energy storage and demonstrated its profitability using real life residential load and electricity data.
The authors observed that cloud energy storage users can use their cloud batteries just like real energy storage devices. Based on the case study on actual residence load data and electricity price, the team noted that social benefits including, the minimal influence on the percentages of social welfare improved by cloud energy storage due to lower unit price as a result of energy storage. In totality, it was seen that cloud energy storage was more economical than distributed energy systems since the economies of scale has a significant influence on the economy of cloud energy storage.
Chongqing Kang and colleagues successfully described novel concept-cloud energy storage. This new service has the potential to provide the same services as the presently used distributed energy system does, but now at a lower social cost. Its future is so great in that it has the potential to, one day, gather fragments of energy storage resources such as electric vehicles, uninterrupted power supplies and residential distributed batteries. More so, the cloud energy storage business model can presently be merged into some current business models as value-added services.
Jingkun Liu, Ning Zhang, Chongqing Kang, Daniel Kirschen, Qing Xia. Cloud energy storage for residential and small commercial consumers: A business case study. Applied Energy volume 188 (2017) pages 226–236Go To Applied Energy