Energy storage has been dubbed the “holy grail” of grid operators, that notion thrived better when it applied to a vague ideal rather than cold reality. Today, with long- and short- duration energy storage alternatives to pumped hydro moving from lab to market, the quest has become vastly more complicated and the goal more elusive. Batteries, compressed air energy storage and mechanical storage all have possible roles.

But before utilities invest in any of these technologies, they need to answer whether the technology itself works in the field, which applications are appropriate, whether legitimate business cases can be fulfilled and whether existing alternatives continue to win on a cost-benefit basis. The holy grail no longer is the technologies themselves. It’s whether those technologies meet the aforementioned criteria for deployment within an operational context with a winning cost-benefit ratio. Read more about energy storage.