Energy Storage

Synapse supports clients interested in energy storage by performing economic analyses throughout a wide range of scenarios. Our team can:

  • analyze the costs and benefits of many types of energy storage technologies under different regulatory and policy scenarios
  • integrate energy storage into our electric sector modeling using industry-leading production cost and capacity expansion models
  • evaluate the ways clients can stack revenue streams and incentives to maximize energy storage investments and operate storage resources for optimal economic output
  • model the impact of energy storage on resources when installed behind the meter as a demand management asset

Our experts focus on the following:

  • Behind-the-meter storage
  • Front-of-the-meter storage
  • Storage in energy markets
  • Vehicle-to-grid applications
  • Storage ecosystem
  • Storage economics
  • Emerging technologies

Synapse has a robust tool kit for modeling the ways storage fits into broader electric sector or economy-wide decarbonization strategies and policies. We evaluate the multiple roles energy storage can play in resource planning, including peak shaving, renewables integration, capacity replacement, grid services, and more. With extensive experience refining rate structures, we inform our rate-making process with emissions data to assist policymakers in crafting effective policies that meet their goals. Our team actively engages in conversation with regional transmission organizations on how energy storage is and should be treated in wholesale energy and capacity markets, as well as the services that energy storage can provide to grid balancing authorities. 

Energy storage is a critical tool for providing the flexibility needed to integrate variable renewable resources onto the grid. Energy storage supports a variety of stakeholders in achieving resiliency, reliability, and economic goals. We regularly examine how storage can support clients’ resiliency goals in standalone, paired (e.g., solar plus storage), and microgrid configurations. We also explore emerging storage opportunities, such as vehicle-to-grid potential and other forms of mobile energy storage.

Behind-the-Meter Storage

In recent years, residential and commercial customers have installed behind-the-meter energy storage at increasing rates - especially storage coupled with solar. Synapse assesses the impacts of behind-the-meter storage on customer energy bills, utility-level grid costs, asset portfolios, and customer adoption curves. We also model the impacts of various energy policies on the adoption curves of behind-the-meter storage. In addition, Synapse models the cost-effectiveness of behind-the-meter storage under various scenarios such as storage coupled with solar, and under different hourly dispatch and charge configurations. 

Our experts research how energy storage can be used as a resiliency resource for behind-the-meter customers for both a single load and in a microgrid configuration. Our team understands how customers and third-party developers can take advantage of different incentive mechanisms and revenue streams for behind-the-meter storage in various states. We continuously explore how storage technologies and configurations function behind-the-meter, and the economics associated with each.

Front-of-the-Meter Storage

Storage installed in front of the meter provides balancing authorities with a variety of grid services. These services will be critical to maintaining grid reliability as higher penetrations of variable generation resources are installed. Synapse models adoption curves for front-of-the meter storage assets based on economic projections of storage costs and revenues. We continuously research the complexities of value stacking front-of-the-meter storage assets to maximize return on storage system investments. 

As storage technologies evolve, so too do the capabilities and costs of storage assets. Synapse tracks the economic tradeoffs for different storage technologies and configurations, and can model these based on client goals. We model storage as non-wires alternatives and as capacity assets for grid operators. 

Storage in Energy Markets

Because energy storage can be considered both load and generation, its role in energy markets differs from traditional resources. Further, the role and financing of energy storage can vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction (vertically integrated utilities versus restructured energy markets). As such, Synapse provides tailored, jurisdiction-specific policy design support for energy storage.

Within wholesale markets, some storage technologies are better suited for different grid applications and can bid into the various energy markets. Synapse engages with regional transmission organizations on the role storage can play in wholesale energy, capacity, and ancillary service markets. As these markets evolve, our team continues to evaluate the market impact on energy storage assets in order to inform our storage modeling and clients.

Vehicle to Grid

Electric vehicles comprise most of the market share for battery storage and will continue to dominate the market as electric vehicle sales increase over the coming years. These vehicles have the potential to provide immense amounts of energy storage and grid services at both the distribution and transmission levels. Synapse works with state agencies to explore what vehicle-to-grid (V2G) could potentially provide as a mobile form of energy storage. The mobile nature of V2G resources creates significant value by serving different locational needs for grid support services. Our team conducts research on how electric vehicles might act as storage systems and is involved in one of the first V2G demonstrations under development in the Northeast. V2G is widely understood as a transformative application unlocking a new value stream not currently available to EV owners. 

Storage Ecosystem

Many types of storage, specifically lithium-ion battery storage, have complex life cycles. To ensure that we make accurate and up-to-date assumptions regarding storage characteristics, Synapse conducts research on the energy storage ecosystem and continually monitors changes in the popularity of lithium-ion battery chemistries and recycling potential. We research different technologies that intervene in this process and can impact a battery’s safety and useful life. 

Storage Economics

In addition to understanding the storage ecosystem, our team analyzes how different market drivers impact storage costs. We can provide detailed analysis of the value-stacking capabilities for energy storage in varying applications and regions. On a macroeconomic scale, we model the impact of storage investment on local economies by estimating GDP and jobs benefits from an expanding battery storage supply chain. We help states understand opportunities for investing in different segments of the energy storage manufacturing cycle, and the respective impacts of those investments on their economies. 

Emerging Technologies

In addition to understanding the life cycle of storage, our team regularly examines new and evolving storage technologies. The energy storage market currently consists of a multitude of technologies and is rapidly evolving. Whether storage developers identify a new chemical composition of lithium-ion batteries, improve efficiencies in mechanical storage, or decrease costs for flow batteries, Synapse understands the technologies best suited to meet client needs and specific storage applications.