There are a lot of misunderstandings out there regarding battery banks for energy storage. We’re here to put your concerns to rest and tell you about the energy storage investment opportunities for landowners.
Clean Energy & Battery Storage
Three primary types of clean energy are used today—solar, wind, and hydropower; nuclear power is arguably clean minus radioactive waste, but it’s not renewable considering the fuel that is required is not renewable. Batteries can be used in conjunction with solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric dams, allowing energy to be stored for a short time, then ultimately pushed onto the power grid at an optimal time rather than becoming wasted energy.
Many people know about this battery storage application in the renewable energy space, however, fewer people are familiar with stand-alone, utility-scale Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). These installations contain energy banks housed inside shipping containers or similarly shaped steel structures. Each cluster is connected to a substation to help manage supply and demand for the local electrical grid. The batteries pull power off the grid and store it when energy demand (and therefore the price) is low. Then, they push power onto the grid based on signals from substations when energy demand is high.
BESS projects are valuable resources that are already acting as worthwhile additions to our country’s electrical grid infrastructure. Here’s how they benefit everyone involved:
- Customers enjoy more consistent electricity rates as well as seeing the ultimately lower priced energy given they aren’t paying a rate that accounts for wasted energy.
- Utilities reduce costly energy losses.
- The grid becomes more resilient during peak demand because, unlike gas peaker plants that take up to 10 minutes to react, a BESS can respond to changes in energy load or generation in milliseconds.
- Developers profit by buying energy at a low rate, storing it in the batteries, and selling it to the utility company when power generation capacity is lower than demand.
- Landowners lease their land to developers with lucrative results.
Why Landowners Should Invest in Energy Storage Systems
The only way stand-alone battery storage can be constructed in your community is if local landowners get involved. In order to build a BESS project on your land, it must be:
- Located within extremely close proximity of a substation
- At least one or two acres in size (most projects can be constructed on 10 or fewer acres)
- Relatively flat and not located in a wetland environment
- Accessible from a road for construction and maintenance purposes
These prerequisites are much more flexible than those needed to build a solar farm. For instance, because of the low acreage requirements, you have the opportunity to construct a BESS project even if you don’t own hundreds of acres of unused land. Plus, while solar power arrays are typically limited to rural areas, battery storage is common, and more valuable, in urban settings where substations are more numerous. Energy banks can even be installed on an existing foundation, such as a vacant parking lot.
Utility-scale energy storage is such an up-and-coming technology that few states have BESS programs in place for development incentives. This means many landowners will have a chance to participate in the future, even if they miss the window for other energy opportunities.
Leasing land for a BESS installation can prove incredibly lucrative for landowners, especially with the typical long-term lease ranging between 20 to 40 years. And remember, the developer is the one responsible for inspecting and maintaining the system, not the landowner.
How Battery Energy Storage Systems Benefit the Environment
BESS projects are far less invasive than other forms of power generation. In fact, they have the lowest impact of all clean energy sources. Here are the environmental benefits of battery energy storage:
- No waste products: No fuel is consumed onsite, so every BESS installation has zero emissions. This means nothing harmful leaks into the air or soil, local water sources are preserved, and the batteries don’t give off radiation.
- Not disruptive to neighbors: Battery banks can be easily hidden by landscaping to provide an unobtrusive installation. They also make limited noise, think sounds equivalent to a residential HVAC unit, and have no moving parts. These qualities ensure the project does not disturb uses on adjacent properties.
- Low land impact: Once the system has completed its lifecycle, or you choose not to renew your lease when the contract expires, the installation is easily removed. Much of the equipment is recycled, and the land returns to its original condition.