The Benefits of Utility-Scale Battery Energy Storage Systems in the United States

In recent years, the United States has witnessed a remarkable surge in the deployment of utility-scale Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). As the demand for renewable energy sources increases and the grid infrastructure evolves, BESS emerges as a crucial solution to address the intermittency and reliability challenges associated with renewable energy generation. 

Airway Services knows this. Airway offers a variety of services within the renewable energy industry. Along with services in Wind and Solar Energy, Airway offers Battery Storage options to its customers as well. 

Brad Gryder, the Director of Business Development for Airway Services stated that Airway began really taking notice of battery energy a few years ago. 

“We were already providing services in wind and solar, and we just wanted to look at diversifying our services,” Gryder said. “Some of our customers, who are asset owners, were actually looking at purchasing battery storage equipment for their wind and solar sites. So, with that, we thought it might be a good transition, with the expertise that our technicians already possess, to transfer from wind and solar over to battery storage.”

Airway seized the opportunity to offer battery storage services two years ago and started providing BESS services to battery storage manufactures and asset owners. Now, they have around 30 battery storage technicians working throughout the US, led by Bradley Overholser, the Operations Manager for Airway Services. 

“Right now, a lot of our manpower is based in Southern California,” Overholser stated. “Right at the border of Arizona, we’ve got two sites there and we also have other technicians currently assigned to the west Texas area and Nevada. Previously, we’ve done most of our battery storage work in Texas, Arizona, California, and the northeast.” 

In short, Airway is focused on providing battery storage services all across the country, and it makes sense because there are several benefits to Battery Energy Storage Systems, both for asset owners and utility companies. Some of those benefits include: 

Enhancing Grid Stability

Utility-scale BESS plays a pivotal role in ensuring grid stability in the United States. The renewable energy sector, including wind and solar, heavily relies on weather conditions and time of day, which results in intermittent power generation. By storing excess energy during periods of high generation and releasing it during peak demand, BESS mitigates the effects of this intermittency, thereby reducing the likelihood of blackouts and voltage fluctuations. The ability of BESS to provide fast-response power injections also enhances grid resiliency, enabling a reliable and stable electricity supply to consumers.

Fostering Renewable Integration

One of the primary benefits of utility-scale BESS lies in its ability to facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid. The intermittent nature of renewables poses challenges to their widespread adoption, as excess energy during peak generation times often goes to waste. BESS effectively addresses this issue by storing surplus renewable energy and releasing it during periods of high demand or low generation. This process, known as load shifting, helps to optimize the utilization of renewable energy sources, reducing curtailment and increasing their overall effectiveness in meeting energy demands.

Reducing Reliance on Fossil Fuels

Utility-scale BESS also plays a crucial role in reducing the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, fossil fuels have been the backbone of energy generation due to their reliability and consistent supply. However, with the urgent need to combat climate change and transition towards cleaner energy sources, BESS offers an ideal solution. By storing excess renewable energy, BESS enables the grid to rely less on fossil fuel-based power plants during peak demand, thus reducing carbon emissions and promoting a more sustainable energy landscape.

Grid Infrastructure Optimization

The deployment of utility-scale BESS offers additional benefits beyond stabilizing the grid and facilitating renewable integration. By providing ancillary services such as frequency regulation and voltage support, BESS can optimize the existing grid infrastructure. This reduces the need for costly grid expansions and upgrades, ultimately leading to cost savings for utilities and consumers alike. Additionally, BESS can act as a backup power source during emergencies, providing critical electricity supply during outages or natural disasters.

Airway Services continues to learn, grow, and evolve within renewables. The world of battery energy storage is a relatively new one that Airway is excited to be part of. 

“As a company, as we continue to learn more about this field, I think it provides a great opportunity for our technicians to broaden their skillsets,” Overholser shared. “What we’re able to provide is not just an introduction into the BESS system, but also what it has led us to currently, and that’s doing inverter work for customers, getting some other training, and really just broadening ourselves and making sure that we’re well-rounded in all aspects of renewables.”

Gryder agreed. “This actually gives us a broader array of services to provide, because a lot of the asset owners own wind and solar and now they’re going to own battery storage,” he said. “So this gives us more services to provide to our customers on different aspects of their renewable portfolio.”

Utility-scale battery energy storage systems bring numerous benefits to the United States, ranging from enhancing grid stability and fostering renewable integration to reducing reliance on fossil fuels. The deployment of BESS not only ensures a more reliable and resilient electricity supply but also contributes to the overall sustainability and decarbonization goals of the nation. As the country continues to prioritize renewable energy sources, investing in utility-scale BESS becomes increasingly crucial, propelling the United States towards a cleaner, more efficient, and sustainable energy future.