In Electricity Energy Storage Technology Options – A White Paper Primer on Applications, Costs and Benefits – a white paper by EPRI; the Electric Power Research Institute finds that if regions in need of energy storage can defer transmission investments by investing in energy storage instead, then it can pay to invest in storage instead, depending on the costs.
If energy storage systems could be installed for about $700–$750 per installed kW-h of storage, then about 14 GW of opportunity exists currently. If they cost more (if – for example, the storage can not be installed for under $1,400 or more per kW-h) then there would be only a 5 GW market.
The EPRI study looked at what is currently out there, not what is in development, assuming nothing new is likely to be grid-ready by 2015. Compared with what is needed, there is practically no energy storage globally now, with the vast majority in pumped hydro: 127 GW (worldwide). Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) comes a distant second with 440 MW. Sodium-sulfur batteries supply 316 MW, and four other kinds of batteries supply a few megawatts here and there to total 85 MW, and flywheels supply just 25 MW.
Compressed air energy storage (CAES) is currently the most cost-effective bulk storage technology for long discharge (more than 10 hours) durations, and the various batteries are best for shorter term (4-8 hours) discharge, but not at utility-scale, other than for load shifting. The greatest need is for very short term and fast acting discharge.
EPRI was looking just at what it called “grid-ready” tech, not any of the sort of advanced innovation we cover at Cleantechnica, and Nobel prizewinner DOE head Steven Chu gives awards to at ARPA-E. These for the most part are at the university research or pilot study level.
But the pricing just indicates what kind of need there is out there for these innovations, most of which bode well to come in at well below the price point that EPRI considers the tipping point at which it is more cost effective to add storage than transmission.
An EPRI white paper in 2020 will likely be a very radical change from this one.
- Another Cheap Way to Store Solar and Wind Power (cleantechnica.com)
- “Drill, Baby, Drill” Can Store Gigawatts of Renewable Energy (cleantechnica.com)
- FERC Wants Smaller, Faster, Distributed Storage to Speed Renewables (cleantechnica.com)
- Liquid Air Tested to Store Renewable Energy in UK (cleantechnica.com)
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