The maintenance of energy storage tanks can be compared to automobile repairs or a regular trip to the dentist, only with certain differences on timing and purposes.
For storage tank fabrication and compliance, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has implemented several standards, including the API 653 guidelines, for tanks used for ethanol storage.
The API 653 guidelines particularly cover oil storage tanks, aiming to prolong their lifespan and functionality. Security also played a central role when the API devised these standards, as ensuring public and community safety are just as important to keeping valuable commodities.
While tank inspections may be similar to dental visits, maintenance checks differ in terms of schedule. A licensed inspector should check for any problems every five years. However, inspections may happen more frequently based on factors such as stored commodities, corrosion of tank materials, and the tank’s location among others.
Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that construction costs for new gas plants dropped by 30% in 2015.
The EIA said that construction expenses for wind, gas, and solar facilities dropped in 2015, but costs for building natural gas plants fell the most in the same period, which the agency attributed to the increase in efficient combined cycle plants.
The average cost of natural gas generators installed in the same year amounted to $696 per kilowatt-hour, down 28% from 2013. Likewise, costs for utility-scale solar plants dropped 21% to $2,921 per kilowatt hour from $3,705 per kilowatt hour in the same period, while wind turbine installation costs fell 12% to $1,661 per kilowatt-hour.
The API guidelines serve as a preventive measure to uphold safety in energy storage, which is why companies should only transact with suppliers that comply with these measures, whether they intend to build gas plants or above ground storage tanks.