Grid energy storage market strong and poised for exponential growth in U.S.


Zolaikha Strong,
Director Sustainable
Energy, CDA
New York, NY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — February 14, 2012 – The U.S. energy storage market is robust and offers tremendous potential for growth over the next 5 years, according to a study for the Copper Development Association (CDA) by KEMA, Inc.

According to the study, industry analysts forecast that $240 billion will be invested in storage grid applications in the U.S. over the next 10 years. In addition, government support is strong with the Department of Energy (DOE) Smart Grid Demonstration Grants project investing $772 million. Strong investments from the government and venture capitalists, successful demonstration projects, and recent technological advancements have all contributed to strong growth in the storage market.

The study, Market Evaluation for Energy Storage in the United States, determines the current market for grid energy storage in the U.S. and the associated copper demand in storage applications over the next five years.

Thermal energy storage, pumped hydro power, compressed air energy storage (CAES), and distributed applications currently constitute the majority of the energy storage market and are used to support the integration of renewables such as wind power and solar photovoltaics, according to the study. However, in the near term, battery technologies and thermal storage are expected to have the strongest growth areas.

Market drivers are energy independence and security, smart grid investments, time-of-use/peak demand rates, increase in renewables and distributed generation, and government policies, incentives and regulations. Though all sectors of the energy storage market show strong potential, from an application perspective distributed generation devices, renewable systems, and ancillary services show the greatest near term growth potential. Global opportunity over the next 10 to 20 years is estimated at upwards of 300 GW in size, which translates into $200-$600 billion in value.

“We are excited to see that the results of the study emphasize the growth and development of energy storage in the U.S. and support our belief that copper can play a vital role as a key component of energy storage in coming year,” commented Zolaikha Strong, director of Sustainable Energy at the CDA. “In this time of transformation of the electric grid, we encourage policy makers to support the growth of storage technologies because they provide the needed reliability to support to the grid.”

The study also finds that the copper content of grid energy storage installations appears to be significant, ranging from zero to over three tons per MW.