Jun 092014
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Originally published on Cleantechnica By Nicholas Brown.

The energy capacity (in this case, the deployment) of advanced utility-scale batteries is forecast to grow 71% annually according to a Navigant Research report titled Advanced Batteries for Utility-Scale Energy Storage. The report expects the industry to grow from a capacity of 412 MWh in 2014 to over 51,200 MWh in 2023.

Navigant Research pointed out the fact that:

Traditionally, the electricity grid has functioned mostly without any stored resources. Today, however, the rapid expansion of distributed, renewable energy resources is increasing demand for energy storage on the grid even as technological advances in electrochemistry are enabling advanced batteries to play an increasingly important role in grid management.

Just so we’re clear, not only renewable energy generators need backup. Coal and nuclear power plants require backup because they are hardly adjustable (steam power plants in general suffer from this problem). Furthermore, they sometimes are down for maintenance or due to emergency.

While solar and wind power plants are already backed up successfully by natural gas–fueled generators, they could still benefit from the installation of battery systems because energy storage enables us to utilize almost all of the electricity they generate. Furthermore, this would reduce global warming emissions.

I should mention that not all energy storage systems are created equally. Some battery chemistries (such as lead-acid) are only capable of a very limited discharge rate (they are limited by Peukert’s Law, shown on page 19 of this PDF), which is why lithium-ion batteries have largely replaced them as the best performers, as their discharge rate is not nearly as limited (up to 40°C for lithium-iron phosphate batteries).

Furthermore: “While there are several chemistries suitable for large energy storage installations for the grid, the clear leader is lithium-ion and its subchemistries,” says Sam Jaffe, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Lithium-ion manufacturers have raced ahead in building manufacturing facilities, giving them considerable advantages in the ability to meet large-volume orders and utilize economies of scale in order to bring prices down.”

The greatest advanced battery technology growth over the next 10 years is expected to take place in Asia Pacific.

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