Solving The Northwest’s Energy Storage Puzzle

By Courtney Flatt for Northwest Public Broadcasting

As the Northwest produces more renewable energy like wind and solar, one big issue keeps popping up. What to do when there’s too much power on the grid? Big utilities in Oregon are starting to figure out how to best store extra energy.

Portland General Electric Company has big plans for storing energy that would otherwise go to waste. And it all comes down to batteries. Giant batteries that could more than double the region’s capacity to save up electricity for when it’s really needed.

Steve Corson is a spokesman with PGE. Among other projects, the utility wants to install batteries at solar and biomass facilities and at people’s homes.

“We want to have a cleaner energy system, and at the same time a more flexible and a more resilient system,” said Corson.

Oregon’s other large utility, PacifiCorp, is working on similar proposals. They’re both responding in part to a requirement by the Oregon Legislature to develop better energy storage technology.

In Washington, regulators directed utilities in October to start working on energy storage ideas.

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