Since the days of thomas Edison more than a century ago, electricity has flowed through the grid in one direction. Power is centrally generated, transmitted, distributed within cities to buildings and consumed immediately.

Recently, Manhattan’s first battery-based, intelligent energy-storage system for a high rise was installed in Barclay Tower, a 58-story luxury residential building near New York’s World Trade Center. It provides 225 kilowatts of power with 2 megawatt-hours of stored energy capacity.

The system stores energy during off-peak periods when rates are low and then releases the energy to the building during peak periods when prices are very high. It works as a physical hedge against volatility risk during periods of high demand, effectively capping costs by using energy from storage at times when rates have the potential to skyrocket.

Called the Joule System by Demand Energy Networks, this development is significant because it offers the ability to alter the way electricity is delivered and promises new potential for city electrical grids, allowing them to become smarter, more adaptable and operate more efficiently for both consumers and utilities.

This technology also offers a significant benefit for energy generated from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, since they are not always generated when needed. The adoption of larger capacity, intelligent, distributed energy-storage systems solves many of these challenges while adding a more robust infrastructure.

Nearly every industry wants to establish inventories that allow product delivery and consumption to be optimized. Intelligent energy storage is an emerging technology that gives the electric power industry and end-users the means to inventory and manage electricity.