IRENA Plans Road Map For 160 GW Energy Storage By 2030

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Originally published on Energy Post.
By Jason Deign

A group of experts is expected to finalise details this week of a road map to install 160 Gigawatts (GW) of battery storage worldwide in 2030, reports Jason Deign of Energy Storage Report. The plan, being developed by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), would see nearly four times as much battery storage being deployed in the next 15 years as all the solar power installed worldwide to date.

The road map is due to be launched this summer following feedback next week from political, industrial and scientific experts at an International Energy Storage Policy and Regulation workshop at the Energy Storage Europe 2015 Conference and Expo. IRENA is an intergovernmental organisation that supports the spread of renewable energy worldwide.

“The road map will guide IRENA’s 139 member states on the key activities needed to support energy storage for the global expansion of renewable energy,” said IRENA last week in a press release.

The need for 160GW of battery storage is based on IRENA’s REmap 2030 study of how to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix from 20% in 2010 to 40% by 2030.

Solving socio-economic issues

This growth is needed “to avoid the worst effects of climate change and solve a host of other socio-economic issues,” IRENA says.

Dolf Gielen, director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Center, said in a press statement: “Electricity storage systems can support the accelerated deployment of renewable power generation in multiple applications, from residential to utility-scale.

“International cooperation to exchange best practices and coordinate efforts to reduce costs and facilitate deployment are critical at this stage, which is why the road map for electricity storage will be instrumental.”

More than 40 policymakers from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, as well as Pacific and Caribbean island states, are due to attend this week’s workshop, the fourth of its kind held by IRENA.

Up to 600GW of storage capacity

At last year’s event, Gielen noted that government projections of renewable energy penetration had tended to underestimate true growth.
Of the 400 to 600GW of storage capacity needed to deal with this renewable energy increase, up to around 325GW will come from pumped storage.

But the volume of battery storage is expected to soar, too, on the back of increasing electric vehicle penetration.

According to IRENA, the volume of lithium-ion battery-based storage is due to rise from 100MW in 2012 to around 25GW in 2020, and 150GW in 2030.

As for the recommendations likely to come out of this year’s meeting, the need for pricing and market reform, both flagged last year, are clear front-runners.

The proceedings from last year’s workshop also made it clear that the road map would focus on electricity storage even though “thermal applications … will be important and in many cases the cheapest options for coping with variable renewables.”

International cooperation activities

The working group pointed out that there were already a number of other electricity storage road maps in existence, so it would seek “to focus on the identification of international cooperation opportunities for electricity storage for renewables.”

“The road map should focus on both the prioritisation of action items for electricity storage deployment for renewables as well as the identification of international cooperation activities,” concluded the group last year.

“Ideally, key activities with progress indicators, cost/ budget outlays and timelines should be prepared for the individual stakeholders and for different regions.”

Much of this detail will presumably be decided on Tuesday. If IRENA is really expecting to see 160GW of battery storage by 2030, there isn’t really that much time to lose.

Editor’s Note

This article was first published on Energy Storage Report here and is republished with permission. 

According to a recent article on the website, Deutsche Bank has on 27 February published a report predicting that “energy storage” will be “cheap enough – and technologically ready to be deployed on a large-scale within the next five years”. 

“Using conservative assumptions and no incentives, our model indicates that the incremental cost of storage will decrease from ~14c/kWh today to ~2c/kWh within the next five years,” the report says. 

Currently, according to Deutsche, the cost of a typical lead-acid battery may be as low as ~$200/kWh, while best in class lithium-ion technology was producing commercial/utility packages in the ~$500/kWh range at end 2014 – half the cost of the ~$1000/kWh 12 months prior. 

“We believe 20-30 per cent yearly cost reduction is likely (for lithium-ion batteries), which could bring (them) at commercial/utility scale to the point of mass adoption potential before 2020,” the report says. 

Reprinted with permission.

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8 thoughts on “IRENA Plans Road Map For 160 GW Energy Storage By 2030

  • Everyone keeps hyping battery chemistry.

    The biggest improvement to batteries in the last 5 years was controlling them with ARM based microprocessors.

    Now ALL batteries will be intelligently controlled by microprocessor. That alone raises the efficiency far higher than an incremental gain in chemistry could yield.

    The next big improvement will be economies of scale.

  • I’m going to take the contrary view and say that batteries are a dead end technology. I expect flywheels and hydrogen to be the main source for energy storage.

    • – Fly wheels work for very short time frames, freq/phase control and “spike/dip” smoothing. But they have a high static drain rates. From Wiki “Flywheel energy storage systems using mechanical bearings can lose 20% to 50% of their energy in two hours” . So good for the very short time frames. It isn’t clear that the cost saving will offset the loses if you are think holding power over a several hour period, or longer. Has a role to play, but not the loins share.
      – Electric to H2 to Electric has very low efficiency rates, plus H2 storage is harder than NG storage. This one is often talked about for seasonal storage, but for that you have to not leak to much H2. There the low conversion rate is traded for long time storage. I’m not optimistic on this one, but “I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be there again”.

    • Hydrogen. Price of instalation maybe as high oe even higher than batteries. Not safe – additional cost for often inspections. And consumes big part of energy which it is to store for convertions to/from electric/chemical.

  • GW and MW are units of power not energy.
    GWh and MWh are units of energy.

    What is meant with the GW and MW in the article?

    • Faceplate peak power draw presumably.

      • How or where can I find the values for the energy stored?

  • I see a future fot those liquid salt grid batteries for large scale grids.
    And Sodium-ion, magnesium-ion, other type of cheap ion kind of battery.

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