There haven’t been many topics in the world of tech more urgent and contemporary than that of energy storage. As e-mobility and solar energy sectors gather steam, this is bound to become an even more important issue.
There’s no denying the impending rise of the importance of energy storage. Just in 2018, the installations used for energy storage had a capacity of 311 MW, which is basically a 100% rise in the past 6 years. Industry associations predict that the capacities for energy storage will rise exponentially in the following five years. With that in mind, it’s important to explore the most important energy storage trends of 2019. Take a look below the jump!
Meteoric Fall of Lithium-Ion Expenses
If we’re taking a look at the energy storage trends that are shaping the current economic climate of the sector, one of the most interesting ones is the plummeting of expenses related to lithium-ion technologies. Since 2012, the assorted prices have fallen by more than 70%, and the first quarter of this year saw a market growth of an astounding 230%.
This downward expense trajectory is baffling expert projections; many of them have thought that the price would at least plateau at best, and rise at worst. By 2021, economists predict that the expenses related to lithium will fall for another 45%. Obviously, this is most important for electric vehicle technologies, and energy storage options. The levels of battery capacity that were once thought to be economically not viable are now becoming a reality. Even established moving companies like Verified Movers are already thinking about the possibilities of e-powered modes of transport. Internal combustion technologies are definitely still reigning supreme, but all related industries are looking towards the future.
Utility and Regulatory Scale Changes
While electric vehicles are still a technology in its infancy, the application of new energy storage technologies is not faltering in other sectors. For example, utility companies are increasingly making use of the newest technologies designed for grid management, as well as contemporary energy storage techniques. Obviously, even the average layman has noticed that solar energy is reaching utility-scale levels in terms of usability. And the owners of utility-connected assets are now looking to new storage options in order to deal with a rising peak demand curve – the need for back-up power is rapidly increasing.
As you may have noticed, the newest energy storage trends are more than interconnected. The abovementioned falling battery expenses have sped up the legislation related to energy storage on a state level. As of June this year, five different states have announced their targets for energy storage levels in the next couple of years.
The federal-level legislation is following suit as well; last year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued instructions on the establishment of infrastructure for energy storage across the country. In the coming years, the level of regulation for these emerging industries is likely to increase at a steady pace.
New Safety Measures
As you can see, energy planning is becoming more important at all levels of industry and governance. And while an increasing number of cities are eliminating coal in the coming years, new safety regulations for the emerging energy technologies are needed. While new energy storage technologies are definitely a safer option than the old coal and oil-powered industries, there are still safety issues. A recent explosion at an Arizona energy facility perfectly illustrates the need for contemporary safety regulations.
Security experts expect the investigation into this explosion to yield results, in terms of security standardization for energy storage systems. While industry representatives and security experts have talked about this for years, no practical steps have been taken up until now.
This is not limited to Arizona either – New York City is tackling the security in energy storage facilities as well. More precisely, the city’s Fire Department has started working on regulations for safety protocols in stationary systems for energy storage. As there haven’t been any municipalities in urban areas tackling energy storage safety measures in a city environment, this will be a ground-breaking step.
Alternative Battery Options
While the reduction in lithium prices is making traditional lithium-ion batteries an increasingly viable way to store energy, alternatives to this incumbent technology are also appearing. A couple of companies are looking into the economic feasibility of zinc batteries. This is especially interesting in the context of security – as this may be a great option for fire-risky areas. In such places, lithium-ion technologies are prone to more safety issues.
That’s why many experts are closely observing the incoming regulatory advice from NYFD. More precisely, the industry is waiting to see if these guidelines will have a preference for non-lithium batteries instead of the traditional ones. This will have a major impact on the battery tech markets, as these guidelines will dictate the value of R&D on both kinds of technologies.
E-mobility and Energy Storage
In the past two years, energy storage companies have been increasingly present at conferences dedicated to e-mobility and solar energy. This represents a paradigm shift, as the tech advances in all three industries are providing an intersection that has not always been present. In fact, energy storage companies are moving closer to vertical integration with e-mobility and solar companies. With climate change and fossil fuel costs becoming a more public topic each year, such energy storage trends are bound to increase in the coming years.
While some energy storage trends have been quite predictable, this has only been proven to be true on a macroeconomic level. But when it comes to industry-level shifts, the pace of development of energy storage technologies will continue to dictate the rise of industries like e-mobility.