New batteries could reduce power outages due to high temperatures

Eos Energy Storage has been developing a new type of battery, in conjunction with utilities, that could help stabilize energy transmission during peak hours and help prevent service interruptions and outages. This is timely because of the high temperatures that have been plaguing the Midwest and New England regions lately.

As scorching weather envelops the Northeast and the Midwest, electric utilities are scrambling to keep the power on while air-conditioners strain utilities’ capacity. By Tuesday afternoon in New York City and Westchester County, for instance, Consolidated Edison had logged nearly 7,700 interruptions since the heat arrived on Sunday, and it had dispatched crews to restore almost all of the power.

Such disruptions have plagued utilities for years: how do they keep extra electricity on hand and ready to go, avoiding the need to cut the voltage in stressed neighborhoods and lowering the risk of blackouts?

Now, several utilities, including Con Edison, National Grid and the large European utilities Enel and GDF SUEZ, have signed up to fine-tune and test what they hope could lead to an answer — a battery half the size of a refrigerator from Eos Energy Storage, the company said Tuesday. If the testing goes well, the batteries hold the promise of providing storage that until now has been unaffordable on a large scale.

Normally, batteries for large scale storage like this have been prohibitively expensive, costing anywhere from $400 to $1000 per kilowatt-hour. Eos’s battery beats these prices by using zinc, which is more plentiful and costs less than other materials used in batteries. The project, which Eos is involving some utility companies in, could help utilities reduce issues with power transmission and even keep them from having to resort to shutting down air conditioning units and cancelling night events.

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