Dispatch Optimization of Electric Thermal Energy Storage within System Advisor Model

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3 Scopus Citations


A stand-alone electric thermal energy storage (ETES) system converts low-value electricity into heat using resistance heating elements. During periods of high-value electricity, an ETES system uses a thermodynamic power cycle to convert stored thermal energy back to electricity. These dispatchable systems derive value from their ability to store energy when prices are low and generate electricity when prices are favorable, i.e., energy arbitrage. Consequently, dispatch optimization of system operations, through maximizing revenue subject to system constraints, is essential to evaluate the economic value of a particular system design. While stand-alone ETES systems offer potential advantages as dispatchable grid storage technologies, there is a lack of a neutral third-party, publicly available, open-source model to evaluate the performance, dispatch, and financial viability of these systems. To address this problem, we have developed a techno-economic model for stand-alone ETES systems, within National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) System Advisor Model (SAM). We implement a mixed-integer linear program to determine an ETES optimal operating schedule that maximizes electricity sales less maintenance costs caused by operation and cycling given temporal-varying grid electricity prices. Our contributions include a mixed-integer linear program for energy arbitrage of an ETES system, an ETES performance model through a publicly-available software (i.e., SAM), and an exercise of our model through case studies that compare ETES operational strategies and annual financial metrics. With our dispatch optimization model, we were able to improve revenue by 20% compared to a myopic heuristic while reducing the operational cost of the ETES system through decreases in cycle starts, cycles per day, and heater starts.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number106786
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Energy Storage
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-82235


  • Dispatch optimization
  • Energy arbitrage
  • Mixed integer linear programming
  • System advisor model
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Thermal energy storage


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