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State tries to save power by storage

Energy storage has the potential to make the grid more efficient and reliable. A micro-grid demonstration in Borrego Springs uses trailer-sized batteries based on lithium-ion technology.


The frontiers of energy storage are being explored in the desert northeast of San Diego, where three trailer-sized lithium-ion batteries are tied into a microgrid powering the town of Borrego Springs.

For the area’s 3,400 residents, the charged batteries can meet roughly one-tenth of energy needs.

That represents a significant technical advance that might some day lower peak power demands that drive electricity prices higher and stoke the need for major power lines and power plants.

California intends to wring similar efficiencies out of the electrical grid by requiring the state’s three investor-owned utilities to add 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage capacity by 2020.

The proposed mandate, coming to a final vote as soon as Oct. 3, is akin to bottling the output of a large nuclear reactor.

The goal is to create a cost-effective market for energy storage that supports multiple technologies.


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