TVA has been a leader in energy storage at the bulk power-system level for the past 60 years with the Raccoon Mountain and Hiwassee Pumped Storage hydro facilities. TVA relies on these resources routinely to balance the TVA system during load/generation fluctuations and to take advantage of market economics.
Storage technologies like pumped hydro, compressed air storage, electrochemistry (batteries) and other options can act as a buffer between electricity supply and demand variations, increasing the flexibility of the grid and helping to enable use of renewable resources like solar, wind and other forms of distributed generation.
Recent technological advances over the past few years have resulted in significant cost reductions of energy storage systems. However, for most, the practical use of these technologies still requires taking advantage of multiple benefit streams to in order be economically viable. TVA is engaging in the forefront of industry research designed to make storage technologies more technically and economically practical in the future, whether the devices are owned and operated by utilities or by individuals.
In doing so, TVA is working with its research partners to track developments in performance and gauge the maturity of storage technologies in grid applications. We are also looking to leverage our experience with energy storage at the bulk system level to determine the value energy storage can provide to the power system.