Sandia releases Quest app to analyze value savings of energy storage for businesses, utilities

Published on May 24, 2021 by Chris Galford

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Sandia National Laboratories launched last week Quest, an app designed as a new way to assess the value of adding energy storage systems.

Quest can be used for two purposes: analyzing savings on the table by adding energy storage systems at utilities and businesses or evaluating energy storage options and modeling the potential of new solutions.

“We’re providing an easy-to-use, open-source software suite that people can use to do their own energy storage analysis,” Babu Chalamala, the manager of Sandia’s energy storage research program, said. “They could be small utilities or co-ops, vertically integrated utility companies, or a project developer who wants to use energy storage. They can take this application suite and evaluate for the needs of their particular project. Does energy storage make sense? And, if so, what is the cost-benefit analysis? Quest can help with all those things.”

Energy storage can make renewable energy sources all the more viable and valuable to the changing grid. Because solar panels and wind turbines don’t tend to produce electricity all the time, energy storage systems allow for capturing energy when it is produced to be used when it is actually needed, thereby increasing the stability, reliability, and resiliency of the grid overall.

Quest includes a behind-the-meter analysis tool for estimating how much money an energy storage system will save respective organizations when combined with other power generators. This is based on consumer input. It combines this with a market-analysis tool for helping small utilities see how much revenue an energy storage system will generate by providing grid stability and reliability enhancement services. This tool utilizes historical data for North America’s seven energy markets.

“Quest provides a very easy way to get at least a first estimate of the potential of the revenue, or cost savings, an energy storage system can generate,” Rodrigo Trevizan, an electrical engineer on the project, said.

Sandia intends to add new pieces to Quest to increase its flexibility and usefulness. Eventually, this could include a distribution-modeling tool to identify how energy storage can help increase the amount of solar power the grid could take on before control systems would need upgrades.