The continuing rise of renewable energy will drive energy storage to “double six times” in the years remaining before 2030, Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects, from a starting point of five gigawatt-hours in 2016 to more than 300 GWh and 125 gigawatts of capacity.
That growth will be driven by an expected US$103 billion in investment, Greentech Media reports.
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A separate report last May by the International Energy Agency foresaw the need for 21 GW of new storage capacity by 2025.
“The trajectory for energy storage mirrors the market expansion that solar went through from 2000 to 2015, when the share of solar PV as a percentage of total generation doubled seven times,” Greentech states, citing the BNEF report. “This growth is going to be driven by both cost reductions for batteries and associated systems, and a rising need for more gigawatts of flexibility to manage the ups and downs of an increasingly wind- and solar-powered grid.”
“With so much investment going into battery technology, falling costs, and with significant addition of wind and solar capacity in all markets, energy storage will play a crucial part in the energy transformation,” said BNEF energy storage analyst and lead report author Yayoi Sekine.
BNEF expects utility-scale battery costs to fall from about $700 to less than $300 per kilowatt-hour between 2016 and 2030, with 70% of global capacity centred in eight countries: the United States, China, Japan, India, Germany, the UK, Australia, and South Korea.
And as early as 2030, “there will be whole weeks where wind and solar power generation exceed total demand at some point every day,” the report notes. This will create “a very difficult experience for baseload nuclear and coal-fired power plants,” notes Greentech’s Jeff St. John. “But it will be an opportunity for flexible power technologies such as energy storage and gas generators, or demand response such as flexible electric vehicle charging and variable industrial loads that can respond quickly to conditions on the grid.”
The report does conclude that renewables, demand response, and storage won’t be enough on their own to keep grids running in periods when renewables are going through a weeks-long slump. That’s when “a fleet of flexible resources will need to be maintained,” including “gas generation, interconnectors, and dispatchable renewable technologies such as bioenergy. In the future, long-term storage solutions such as hydrogen may come into play, too.”