A decade ago, the advent of horizontal drilling made natural gas the darling of the US power sector, and for good reasons too!
It provides steady baseload & easily dispatchable power, it's inexpensive & domestically produced and significantly lower in emissions than coal. Understandably, it was widely lauded as our power source for the future, a cost-effective vehicle for enabling the lengthy transition to a renewable energy.
However, the 21st century grid is transforming faster than anyone imagined and today, as the deployment of renewable energy and energy storage accelerates exponentially across the country, natural gas is no longer necessarily the most cost-effective nor lowest-carbon energy resource to deploy.
Whilst nearly 32% of domestic electricity was generated by natural gas power in 2017 (more than any other energy source, coal power a close second) there are several factors contributing to the acceleration of energy storage adoption to augment, optimize and potentially replace the gas fleet in the U.S. today:
- Energy storage deployment is quick and inexpensive compared to building a new gas, nuclear, or coal plant. An average natural gas peaker plant takes three years to construct; by comparison, Tesla’s 100 MW Hornsdale storage facility was completed within 100 days.
- Energy storage participation rules are changing. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is now requiring ISOs to incorporate energy storage into their markets.
- Storage provides a fast, clean and low-cost solution to looming expensive electric capacity and transmission needs in areas such as New York City, Southern California, and the Baja peninsula in Mexico.
- The value proposition of energy storage goes beyond dispatchable power, as it can also provide cost-effective, highly responsive voltage support, frequency regulation, congestion relief, ancillary services and resilience (emergency back-up).
Hyperion Executive Search are a specialist headhunter in the clean technology space and focus heavily on the energy storage space in North America. We are currently supporting a number of startups w/significant investment and market leaders who are looking to develop and build a robust pipeline of storage projects across the US. I will be in New York in December so please get in touch if you'd like to set up a meet to discuss.
As we move towards a more sustainable future, energy storage will improve the stability of the grid by enabling a variety of existing assets, including generators (gas and renewables), to operate more cost-effectively and with greater functionality – while at the same reducing GHG emissions and local criterial pollutants.