The secret to grid-scale storage? It's the software, stupid
By Jesse Berst
Quick Take: Former utility executive and current consultant Peter Kelly-Detwiler used his Forbes column to make an important point -- that the smartest way to approach storage is to focus on the software and be agnostic to the battery technology itself.
Making grid-scale storage work means pulling multiple value streams from the same set of batteries -- that is, using the same batteries for multiple purposes. How do you do that? Through a lot of smart software, as Peter explains in his description of Greensmith, one of at least a dozen storage startups focusing on the software piece. If you get the software right, you can mix and match battery technologies as they leapfrog each other.
By the way, for those who think storage is still a decade away from mainstream use -- and there are many of you -- take heed of this additional point from Peter: "In power markets such as Germany and Australia, which face high electric rates and increasing levels of renewables, storage is already coming into its own." That same phrase accurately describes several regions in North America.
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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.