The age of energy storage?


If Californian regulators give their approval, the site of a natural-gas power plant at Moss Landing, could be the site of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery project by late 2020.

The 300MW battery facility will help balance the grid utilising four lithium-ion batteries.  Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has asked for approval for the project which will ultimately provide enough capacity to supply 2,700 homes for a month.

Battery storage is an increasingly prevalent trend as more and more renewable energy comes online and grids need more active balancing.

Earlier this year, Forbes called the increase in storage capacity a ‘revolution’. According to Bain Insights, the contributor of the feature: “In 2017, utility-scale energy storage moved from a handful of experimental programs to front-page news, with prominent deployments in Australia, Texas, Southern California and hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. Building on these successful installations, 2018 should be an even more important milestone for energy storage, as policymakers encourage electricity system operators to include storage in their integrated planning”.

Bain & Company believe that by “2025 large-scale battery storage could be cost competitive with peaking plants—and that is based only on cost, without any of the added value we expect companies and utilities to generate from storage.”

In Europe, French utility EDF, is one of those pursuing large-scale storage. EDF announced that it has a goal of developing 10GW of storage around the world by 2035. The French giant already has 5GW of storage in operation. The total investment to achieve this goal is estimated to be just short of $10 billion.

Other European energy companies investing in energy storage include Enel, E.ON and Total.

This trend is also being seen in the residential market. According to research by Greentech Media and the Energy Storage Association which highlights that residential battery storage has surged in the US during the first quarter of 2018.

The authors report that 36MW of ‘behind the meter’ storage was installed – the same amount as the previous three quarters combined. The report further reveals that the total energy storage market in the US grew by 26% – with behind the meter storage accounting for 49% of new installations.

The states responsible for the vast majority of this were California and Hawaii – accounting for 74% of the total installed.

“With the U.S. energy storage market demonstrating a continued upward growth trajectory in the first quarter of 2018, the industry is moving closer to its vision of 35GW of new energy storage installations by 2025,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the Energy Storage Association.

“The growing list of states and markets ready to take action and remove barriers to cost-effective energy storage deployment promises the remainder of 2018 will yield similarly positive results.”