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New Sandia App delivers Assessment on Energy Storage Cost-Effectiveness


Today, Sandia National Laboratories announced it launched an app to help corporate project developers assess how much money they can save through an energy storage system. Accordingly, the Quest software will aid companies and energy researchers in evaluating different energy storage scenarios and modeling the potential of new solutions.

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The software suite currently has two principal tools—first, a behind-the-meter analysis tool for businesses or civil infrastructure; for instance, schools and hospitals. And second, a market-analysis tool to help utility companies assess how much revenue an energy storage system would generate.

About Quest – An App for Energy Storage Assessment

In principle, with the behind-the-meter analysis tool, business owners or city project managers can estimate how much money an energy storage system will save them when combined with solar panels or other power generators. Besides, the solution can also help users explore the best renewable power option for them to implement at their facilities/households.

For example, “a homeowner or a warehouse manager who knows nothing about energy storage but wants to install it for their rooftop solar panels, can use Quest’s streamlined process to learn how much money the energy storage system would save them over a year,” said Tu Nguyen, a Sandia electrical engineer who led the development of the optimization algorithms underpinning Quest.

On the other hand, the market-analysis tool looks to provide small utility companies with an analysis of how much revenue an energy storage system would generate. To deliver accurate information, the tool relies on historical data for the seven energy markets in North America; for instance, including the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and the California Independent System Operator.

“We’re providing an easy-to-use, open-source software suite that people can use to do their own energy storage analysis;” said Babu Chalamala, the manager of Sandia’s energy storage research program. In fact, “they could be small utilities or co-ops; vertically integrated utility companies or a project developer who wants to use energy storage.”

So, “they can take this application suite and evaluate for the needs of their particular project,” added Chalamala. “Does energy storage make sense? And, if so, what is the cost-benefit analysis? Quest can help with all those things.”

Other Sandia projects

Similarly, Imre Gyuk, who directs the Energy Storage Program at the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity, commented; “In our cutting-edge storage installations, we start by modeling the business case with Quest”. Then, “if the results look promising to our project partners and us, we go ahead with the venture. After completion, we monitor the system using Quest for guidance and to optimize benefits.”

Indeed, energy storage systems are receiving more importance from users since capturing energy when produced; and saving it for when needed, has proved essential to a reliable operative functioning within organizations.

In this sense, many renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines; can benefit from storage solutions since they don’t produce electricity all day, every day. Therefore, energy storage systems, including lithium-ion-battery-based designs and pumped-storage hydropower, can increase the power grid’s stability, reliability, and resiliency.

Finally, the Sandia team also provides support to help new users learn how to run the software in the form of webinars and tutorials.  Accordingly, Rodrigo Trevizan, an electrical engineer on the project, commented; “Quest provides a straightforward way to get at least a first estimate of the potential of the revenue an energy storage system can generate.”

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