A report from the World Energy Council states worldwide solar energy storage platforms will become more competitive as new battery technologies drive prices down. On the wind storage front, technical advances in areas such as composite materials appears to enable the power generated by wind turbines to increase.
But focusing only on cost issues may lead to misconceptions about the real value of energy storage is the conclusion of this report, “E-storage – shifting from cost to value.”
“Following rapid cost reductions and significant improvements in capacity and efficiency, the global energy sector is captivated by the promise of deploying energy storage alongside renewables. Storage is promoted as the “game-changer” which could contribute to solving the volatility challenge of wind and solar electricity generation. Whilst there is plenty of visionary thinking, business models are not always fully understood and there are not many studies on cost data.”
“Energy storage is a critical catalyst of the energy transition whose benefits are still undervalued. The costs have already come down, but will have to fall further for a much broader roll-out and use in household and E-mobility,” said Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council.
“The investment community has good reason to be excited about the innovation and business models that will emerge from new opportunities.”
According to Solar Server, energy storage costs expected to fall by as much as 70% over the next 15 years.
Although batteries are currently too expensive for large-scale use, technology improvements will cut costs, opening pathways for how some utility scale storage systems to be configured. Such a transition in such an energy storage infrastructure might also spur new plant engineering and lead to reduced demand for fossil fuels.
“There is a bright future for energy storage with significant innovation potential. With the cost of capturing and storing wind and solar energy coming down, its deployment across the world will increase. The market is right to be enthusiastic about storage of energy, not just because of the cost reductions that it brings, but also because of additional revenue and other benefits that specific technologies in specific contexts can deliver,” said Frei.
The report issues five recommendations to policymakers:
- Go beyond just cost factors
- Examine storage through comprehensive case studies
- Work with operators and regulators to accelerate the development of flexible markets
- Establish policies and a regulatory framework which facilitate commercial deployment of storage technologies
- Consider storage as a key component for grid modernization
The World Energy Council report is authored by 23 leading industry and academic experts from across the world who are in the World Energy Council Storage Knowledge Network. The 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul, Turkey in October 2016.
Image via World Energy Council