EIA: Utility-scale battery storage exceeding 10-fold growth over 10 years


Utility-scale battery storage has more than quadrupled in nearly five years and could triple again in the next four, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

A new report by the EIA includes data collected on existing and proposed energy storage arrays nationwide. Operational utility-scale battery systems grew from 214 MW capacity in 2014 to 899 MW earlier this year.

And, under the current pace of projects planned or under construction, that capacity could top 2,500 MW by 2023.

Supportive state-level policies and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 841 allowing utility-scale battery energy to compete in the wholesale markets have certainly helped the energy storage push. The battery systems are versatile components on the grid, considered generation and distribution level resources, depending on the siting and task needed.

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Energy storage also offers help for smoothing out the intermittencies of wind and solar, which are also growing in their portion of the electricity mix in the U.S. Many utilities and state regulators see battery storage as helping them meet carbon-reduction goals.

Utility-scale energy storage includes projects of 1 MW or greater. The EIA says that the two largest battery storage sites currently in operation are the Golden Valley Electric Association’s system in Alaska and Vista Energy’s in California, both about 40 MW capacity each. Sixty MW of utility-scale capacity came online in the first quarter of 2019 alone, according to the report.

The largest one planned is Florida Power & Light’s Manatee Solar Energy Center. The 409-MW site should be completed by late 2021 and will store energy from a nearby FP&L solar plant.

This story originally appeared on our sister-site, Power Engineering.