Utilities, grid service providers and equipment suppliers are all intensifying their efforts to meet the growing opportunity in energy storage, especially to integrate more variable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, says a new report from Pike Research.
According to the report, total global energy-storage capacity will increase from 121 MW this year to 12.353 GW in 2021 – multiplying 100-fold over a 10-year period. That equates to just over $122 billion of investment in energy-storage projects over the same period.
Numerous new technologies – and variations of "old" technologies, such as compressed-air and pumped-hydro storage – are being demonstrated in countries around the world.
Factors currently limiting the growth of the energy-storage sector include inflexible electricity market structures, high capital costs for energy-storage projects, a disconnection between the owners of assets and the entities that benefit from such projects, and instability of the grid, including both inherent instabilities and those caused by the integration of renewable energy.
Energy-storage technologies perform a number of functions that will start to overcome those barriers in the next few years, including the integration of renewables (both wind and solar), arbitrage, peak shifting and load leveling, and the deferral of transmission and distribution upgrades.
Pike Research anticipates that renewable energy integration will represent approximately half of the total capacity deployed for long-duration energy storage, while load leveling and peak shifting will account for 31% of the total market.