Energy storage comes in many shapes and sizes. Pike Research covers six energy storage technologies in depth for its upcoming update to Energy Storage on the Grid alone and includes discussions on many more emerging technologies. The variety of technologies is matched only by the variety of applications – up to 17 by EPRI’s count. In the following weeks, I will discuss a few key aspects of the grid-scale energy storage market. Today’s post is a summary of the topics I will cover in the following weeks.
Energy Storage is Dynamic:
What is most exciting about energy storage is that the market is changing swiftly. Not only are technologies improving at a speedy clip – we expect rapid technological change in the clean-tech industry – but applications for technology are also quickly changing. In fact, this time next year, I expect there will several additional applications to discuss within the storage space that have not been tried before.
In fact, energy storage applications form the heart of Pike’s analysis on the energy storage market. This approach is unique and I think it serves Pike well. Because in the analysis of the value of energy storage, developers and adopters agree that the technology is less important that what it can do for a project and the more a technology can do, the better. Energy storage is one of the few markets I’ve seen where products are marketed as solutions to several issues at once, the more the better. I think of energy storage as the smartphone of smart energy solutions – it can do just about anything you ask of it.
Energy Storage Can Make the Market More Efficient:
We frequently refer to large scale storage projects of yore, projects that never pushed the energy storage industry the way one might have thought. And yet, here we are again, talking about how to store electrons, because the disconnect between generation and consumption is widening rapidly. In this way, energy storage provides a way to solve problems today, with the promise of doing the same for problems of the future.
Energy Storage is a Market of Niches:
I hate to draw too many parallels with the fuel cell industry, but this one is hard to ignore. Much like the fuel cell industry, the energy storage market is a market of niches. There are specific, high-value niches for energy storage that will give developers an opportunity to prove their technologies and value proposition before costs can come down. These first adopters are critically important to the fuel cell industry and they are just as important in the energy storage space.
Energy Storage Plays Well with Others:
Some of the practical issues with intermittent renewables are coming to light, now that installations have reached a critical mass on some grids. In addition, as the incentives that encouraged installations of these intermittent renewables are pared back, owners for these assets will be looking for a way to maximize their investment. In addition, grid operators are looking to maintain balance on the grid and ensure power quality. These present significant opportunities for energy storage.
I recently spoke with Daryl Wilson of Hydrogenics who summed up the energy storage market aptly – he compared energy storage to data storage. We store data in various forms and with different purposes. Energy is no different.
Article by Anissa Dehamna, appearing courtesy the Matter Network.