There isn’t much available historical performance data on Utility Scale Storage Batteries. That is part of the reason why Southwest Research is engaged in the announced CPS project. There is, however a significant body of cost and performance reliability data in regard to Lithium Ion car batteries.
Evidenced by attached slides one and two taken from the recent CPS Energy Board briefing, the CPS Flexible Path is focused on the environmental impact of electricity generation.
As CPS starts to implement its Flexible Path plan (also titled Flex Gen) designed to reduce reliance on fossil fuels for generation of electricity, solar and wind are slated as replacements to charge large battery banks. Both renewable energy sources carry numerous financial and reliability risks. There is an added battery life cycle concern if CPS retires too much of its fossil fuel peaking generation causing and unbalance it its energy portfolio.
In the automotive industry, the Toyota Motor Corp. is rolling out its next-generation Prius hybrid with a customer choice of newer-generation lithium ion or more traditional nickel-metal hydride batteries. How long do Hybrid or pure electric vehicle batteries last?
In the Prius Hybrid example above we can see that the value of the car drops quickly because of battery aging. All batters have relatively short, finite life cycles along with fairly expensive replacement costs. Is CPS factoring this into the local study?
We can be certain that RES Americas utility battery will be one of several forms of Lith-Ion. Take a look at the attached LCA environmental impact study that compares Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) with Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV). It may be reasonable to extrapolate findings in the automotive study for extension into the life cycle and environmental impact of Electric Utility Scale, Lithium Ion Battery Plants. The picture doesn’t look all that good. Let’s hope that the CPS battery test project results in an honest, scientific study. If battery storage isn’t economically justified or its total environmental impact is too great will CPS be Flexible enough to say no to the technology?
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