General Electric’s Durathon batteries may be the fruit of a $100 million research effort out of GE’s transportation division. But it looks like the device’s first big applications are going to be in integrating solar and wind power into the grid, via new partner Arista Power.
GE and Arista said Tuesday that they’re teaming up on development and sales of Arista’s Power on Demand System, using GE’s Durathon nickel-salt batteries. The idea is to back up renewable power such as solar and wind, to smooth output or even sell power back to the grid during peak periods, according to Tuesday’s announcement.
Solar power is rarely backed up with batteries today — it’s just not worth the extra costs involved. And while wind power energy storage adds up to more than 200 megawatts deployed around the world today, it’s too expensive for most applications. Mainly, it’s being installed because it’s cheaper than even more costly options, like adding new power lines or transformers, or rewriting PPA agreements with bigger risk premiums because the wind farm’s power isn’t reliable.