Energy IQ: What is stationary energy storage and how energy storage works

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Last year, solar installations across the world were over 100 GW1 and covered an area equivalent to one tenth the size of Puerto Rico in just one year. Similarly, the installation of on-shore and off-shore wind turbines are speeding up.

This is great news, yet introduces an unexpected challenge. In a given geographical area, newly installed solar and wind capacity will likely be producing electricity at the same time with the existing solar capacity. This can result in excess electricity from renewable sources during a certain time of the day, and no energy being produced when the sun isn’t shining, and the wind isn’t blowing. So, the challenge becomes how to capture and store this excess energy for future use.

This is where stationary energy storage technologies comes to play and become an instrumental component of the future of energy infrastructure. Let’s answer four common questions about energy storage technologies to boost your energy IQ.

No. #1: Why do we need stationary energy storage technologies?

Sources of power system flexibilityThe daily pattern of when and how much electricity we produce differs from when and how much electricity we consume. Moreover, renewable energy sources aren’t flexible, meaning they can’t be dispatched when needed to meet the ever-changing requirements of energy consumers.

While traditional power plants and interconnections will continue to be key levers to address this challenge, energy storage systems are projected to be the rising star in solving this flexibility challenge.

Advancements in battery technologies and decreasing costs are the enablers behind the rise of stationary energy storage technologies. 

No. #2: What is a stationary energy storage system?

A stationary energy storage system can store energy and release it in the form of electricity when it is needed. 

In most cases, a stationary energy storage system will include an array of batteries, an electronic control system, inverter and thermal management system within an enclosure. 

Unlike a fuel cell that generates electricity without the need for charging, energy storage systems need to be charged to provide electricity when needed.

No. #3: How does a stationary energy storage unit work?

Batteries and an electronic control system are at the heart of how stationary energy storage systems work. Batteries are where the energy is stored within the system in the form of chemical energy, and lithium is the most popular element used to store the chemical energy within batteries. 

Here is a simplified overview of how batteries work during discharging and charging.

  • Discharging energy in the form of electricity: Lithium is stored on one end of the battery with its electrons. Electrons get separated from lithium and move through a circuit to provide electricity to the loads. Meanwhile, lithium ions, now positively charged since they lost negatively charged electrons, move from one side of the battery to the other side. This movement continues until all the lithium ions move to the other end; this is when the battery is discharged.
  • Charging the batteries and storing the chemical energy: A source external to the battery starts to provide electricity, providing an influx of electrons to the battery. These negatively charged electrons start to merge with the positively charged lithium ions, and the lithium elements, now neutrally charged, move from one side of the battery to the other side. Once all the lithium elements move, the battery is now fully charged. 

An electronic control system is the brain orchestrating the operation of the energy storage system. It controls when the batteries need to charge, when the loads need the energy from the batteries, and the operation of the thermal management system. This control system also interacts with devices outside the energy storage system to coordinate the operation. 

An inverter is where the electricity produced by the batteries is converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Most of our homes and offices are wired for AC, and the utility grid carries electricity in AC. With the help of the inverter, the electricity provided by the batteries can be used to power loads.

The thermal management system manages the temperature of the overall system and prevents the heat generated through the chemical reactions within the batteries to be harmful for the system operations. 

No. #4: Where will I see stationary energy storage solutions?

Economic feasibility is one of the key drivers of where stationary storage solutions will be adopted more rapidly. A high local price of electricity, low resiliency of existing power infrastructure and criticality of business operations all play a role in this, yet two types of customers likely leverage energy storage solutions ahead of others.

  • Utilities, power producers and grid operators: Already an area where an increasing amount of installed capacity exists. Energy storage solutions address a range of customer challenges including intermittent renewables, peak demand and short outages.
  • Commercial buildings: Within this large group, energy storage solutions will likely become more common for businesses where the cost of energy is significant, or the continuity of operations is extremely critical. 

Another use case for stationary energy solution systems is to provide an uninterrupted supply of power in the event of an outage, while backup power generators are starting up. This is where the immediate dispatch capability of these solutions comes into play; in reacting to loads that have significant voltage and frequency fluctuation, for which some generating assets aren’t capable of reacting to without causing interruptions.

Cummins involvement in stationary energy storage systems

Cummins Inc. is a leading provider of diesel and natural gas power generators, digital solutions and control systems; and has recently developed Tactical Energy Storage Systems (TESS). The TESS provides an integrated power solution when used in a tactical microgrid to increase resilience, improve power quality and provide silent power. 

Microgrids and fuel cells  to energy storage devices, our energy future includes a diverse set of technologies and fuels, and Cummins is committed to innovating and delivering a variety of solutions to meet these diverse needs of customers. 

Sign up below for Energy IQ to periodically receive relevant insights and trends about energy markets. To learn more about the distributed generation solutions Cummins offers, visit our webpage.

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References: 

1 International Energy Agency. (Nov 2019). World Energy Outlook 2019 [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.iea.org/
 

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Home Standby Generators are smart tech and a smart choice

illustration of home with generator

This article was authored by Chuck McClaugherty, Bear Electric, a Cummins Authorized Dealer.

Smart phones, smart TVs, virtual assistants, smart thermostats, smart locks and doorbells. Our homes are now filled with smart devices. Unfortunately, most of them become useless without power to run or recharge. This is why homeowners should consider installing one smart device above all other: a home standby generator. 

As a Cummins Authorized Dealer, I install a lot of Cummins QuietConnect™ home standby generators throughout Oregon. With increasingly severe weather, rolling blackouts, and aging power grids, I can tell you without a doubt a backup generator is a worthwhile investment. 

The best part of owning one of these smart devices? You don’t have to tell it when to turn on and off. It does it automatically. 

In a nutshell, here’s the process:

When we install a Cummins home standby generator, we also install a Cummins automatic transfer switch. This transfer switch constantly monitors the electric utility power coming into the home. If it detects a break in service, it will automatically disconnect the home from the electric utility line in a split second and turn on the Cummins generator to power the home instead. The generator is fed either by a natural gas line or by a propane tank.

While the Cummins generator is powering the home, the transfer switch will continue to monitor the electric utility line. Once it detects that power has been restored, it’ll automatically disconnect the generator from the home’s electrical system and reconnect the electric utility.

You don’t have to do anything. Nada. Zilch. The generator and the transfer switch do all the work. In some cases, you may not even realize there’s a power outage until you look out the window and see all your neighbor’s houses are dark.

Just as critical as having a Cummins Authorized Dealer professionally install your backup generator and transfer switch is making sure you choose the right size generator for your home. If it’s too small, the load won’t be able to power everything in the house. If it’s too big, you’ll consume extra natural gas or propane when you use it.

The easiest way to make sure you select the right size generator is to have your dealer do it for you. But if you want to get a feel for how much generator you’re going to need, Cummins has an excellent blog post on calculating the generator wattage you need or you can use the generator size calculator at Cummins.com.

We live in a world full of smart devices. Make sure you can keep yours up and running during power outages with a Cummins QuietConnect home standby generator. To find a dealer near you, use the Cummins dealer locator. Or, if you live in Oregon, just contact me at (503) 678-3417 or [email protected] 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

1-800 Cummins software update

Sales and Service truck parked by bridge

Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) is pleased to announce that 1-800-CUMMINS will be offering software sales as an added feature. The suite of software supported by this new feature includes INSITE, QSOL, PowerSpec, INCAL, and Guidanz IA. Making this available through 1-800-CUMMINS will streamline customer handoffs, reduce downtime, and ensure our customers receive responsive and proactive software sales support, every time. 

What’s changing?

•    New Software Sales option on 1-800-CUMMINS™  
•    All calls to legacy numbers will be redirected to 1-800-CUMMINS™

What’s staying the same?

•    Customers can still call 1-800-CUMMINS™ for parts support, general product and service inquiries, and service provider technical assistance for engines, generators, and Cummins digital products. 

When did the change take place?

•    Monday, October 10, 2022

 “I am thrilled about this new offering we are providing our customers. Not only will this help them get the support they need faster, but it also helps reduce customer complexity,” added Greg Ehlinger, Executive Director, Centralized Solutions. “Our customers depend on us to power their business and having trusted solutions delivered easily and accessibly by experts who care is one way we are doing that.” 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Cummins Inc. and EDF Renewables enters into a distributed photovoltaic Power Purchase Agreement

contract signing ceremony

Covering seven manufacturing entities with a total installed capacity of 16.5 MWp, reducing carbon emissions in facilities and operations significantly.

Cummins China and EDF Renewables signed a distributed photovoltaic PowerPurchase Agreement in Beijing, aiming to cut down electricity consumption from traditional grids and reduce carbon emissions in Cummins facilities & operations. Cummins will provide the roof & ground space and will consume the generated solar power, EDF Renewables will be responsible for the investment, installation and operation of solar PV generation equipment. WANG Ning, Vice President of Cummins, and Erwann Debos, CEO of EDF Renewables China, completed the signing of the contract on behalf of both parties. 

EDF is a global leader in renewable energy, including wind and solar. EDF Renewables has profound technical capabilities and service experience in the field of photovoltaic power generation. The partnership will install distributed photovoltaic power generation system at 7 manufacturing entities in Beijing, Wuxi, Wuhan, Chongqing and Liuzhou . With a total installed capacity of 16.5 MW, the project can provide about 280 million kWh of power generation in 20 years, saving about 158,000 tons of carbon emissions. 

"We are pleased that Cummins and EDF are working together in the field of distributed photovoltaics to provide new opportunities for Cummins to expand green energy consumption and reduce emissions from plant operations. It will help Cummins achieve renewable electricity use accounting for more than 10% of total electricity consumption by 2023 in China region. This project will further enable our capability in green production and operation, and position us well for sustainable development,” said WANG Ning. 

At present, the use of building roof to install photovoltaic system is a very effective way for corporate customers to reduce their carbon emissions. Cummins and EDF signed a 20-year power purchase contract, which can achieve carbon emission reduction targets and electricity cost savings at the same time. 

Erwann Debos said at the signing ceremony, "We are honored to provide Cummins with distributed photovoltaic Renewables solutions to help Cummins achieve its PLANET 2050 strategic goals. EDF Renewables aims to work hand in hand with customers to provide the most advanced integrated energy management solutions around the low-carbon transformation of enterprises, and to empower the global energy transition."

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

5 businesses that can benefit from selling Cummins generators

Cummins dealer discussing home generator

Ninety percent of American business are small- and medium-size. They are the true engines of our economy, employing millions of workers. With many of them looking for new ways to expand their services, generate income and grow their businesses, Cummins home standby and portable generators could be a new source of revenue. 

A Silver Lining in Dark Clouds

According to the Associated Press, power outages from severe weather have doubled over the past two decades, straining our country’s aging power grid. This has increased the frequency and duration of power outages. These frequent outages create a need for reliable backup power for households and other businesses. And for enterprising small- and medium-size businesses, satisfying this need with Cummins generators is a huge opportunity.   

Which businesses could benefit the most from becoming Cummins authorized dealers? Here are our top five:

1. General Contractors — When natural disasters such as ice storms, hurricanes, high winds, forest fires or earthquakes hit, lost power isn’t the only challenge customers face. There is often physical damage to property that must be repaired. When they are helping customers to rebuild, general contractors have an opportunity to estimate home or business’s energy needs and suggest adding a Cummins QuietConnect™ Home Standby Generator. If the customer agrees, the general contractor not only profits from the sale of the generator, but also the labor to install it.

2. Electricians — A good electrician is a trusted source of information. Not only are they experts with the flow of electrons, they often know their customer’s specific electrical setups. After a prolonged power outage, many are often asked “Is there anything you can do to keep my electricity on the next time the power goes out?” Electricians who sell and install Cummins QuietConnect Home Standby Generators can say, “Yes, yes there is.” Installing home standby generators can be another valuable service that electricians provide.

3. Heating & Cooling Contractors — During a power outage, one of the most critical systems knocked offline for home and business owners is their central heating and cooling system. Going without heat or cool air for a long period of time is not only uncomfortable, it can be dangerous if the temperatures are extreme outside. So, naturally, once power is restored, finding a way to keep the HVAC system on during the next power outage becomes top-of-mind. Since heating and cooling contractors are experts at installing large systems in homes and businesses, adding Cummins QuietConnect standby generators to homes and businesses is a natural way to add another profit center to their businesses.

4. Online Retailers — Up until now, we’ve been discussing standby generators. For businesses that don’t specialize in installing generators permanently into place, Cummins portable generators can be a moneymaker.  While portable generators can be used during power outages, they are better suited to smaller tasks due to their portability. This makes them ideal for camping, tailgating, construction worksites and more. With Cummins’ rugged and reliable reputation, our portable generators are ideal for retailers focused on these market segments.

5. Solar Panel Installers — Most home solar panels are connected directly to the power grid. So, when the power goes out, the solar panels stop providing power. For a backup source of electricity, solar panel installers can either install a solar battery backup, which gets charged by the solar panels, or a home standby generator. Typically, solar battery backups can only power a home for a few hours, so if an area is prone to weather-related outages, a home standby generator such as the Cummins QuietConnect is the better choice.

The Time is Now

With more people than ever looking for backup power generation, now’s a great time to expand your company’s offerings by becoming a Cummins authorized dealer. To learn more visit, cummins.com/partners/dealers.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

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