Snohomish PUD’s Energy Storage Initiative

Northwest Clean Energy

Everybody talks about renewable intermittency, but nobody does anything about it.

Well, that is not quite true. Snohomish County Public Utility District is doing something about it: they are building the infrastructure for energy storage. Not balancing, but storage. There’s a big difference.

Snohomish PUD is the second largest publicly owned utility in Washington state and serves more than 327,000 electric customers.

A grid in balance

Right now, utilities “balance” their renewable inputs. Indeed, balancing renewables is a major focus of current utility research and practice. Most renewable sources are intermittent, and some other source of generation balances it—fills in the gaps. For example, when the wind springs up, hydro plants power down to balance. When the wind dies down, hydro plants power up.

In general, “balancing plants” have to be hydro or combined cycle gas-fired plants. Most “demand side management” is too slow to balance wind energy. Demand side management…

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