Energy Storage

Published on January 19th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill


Global Energy Storage Pipeline Increases 45% In Q4’15: IHS

January 19th, 2016 by  

A slew of factors have resulted in the global energy storage pipeline increasing by 45% in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to new figures published by IHS.

According to analytics company IHS, battery cost reductions, government funding programs, and utility tenders all contributed to a 45% increase in the global energy storage pipeline in Q4’15, with the pipeline of planned battery projects and flywheel projects reaching 1.6 GW.

“Continued battery cost reduction, government funding programs and utility tenders have helped spark a notable acceleration in the global energy storage market, and IHS recorded an increase of nearly 400 megawatts in the global pipeline during the final quarter of 2015,” said Marianne Boust, principal analyst for IHS Technology. “Suppliers and developers around the world are preparing for a record year in 2016, with significant growth projected in a wide range of regions and market segments.”


With several large-scale projects being announced towards the end of 2015, IHS has concluded that the energy storage industry is now “shifting from research-and-development demonstration projects to commercially viable projects.” Included in these large-scale projects was a 90 MW order placed by STEAG to be built in Germany, and 75 MW worth of contracts awarded to American PG&E.

These projects compare favorably to the more common type of project announcement we have seen over the last few years, which more often than not have dealt in kW’s rather than MW’s. Many experts believe that energy storage will be an integral component of the shift towards renewable energy integration into our electricity grids, and IHS’s numbers seem to suggest we are on our way towards commercial operation of larger and more robust energy storage systems.

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  • TatuSaloranta

    Are there no statistics available for actual energy storage capacity (MWh), instead of just reporting peak power ratings (MW)? While latter gives some indication of scale (low, but growing), it does not help in giving perspective on whether amounts would do anything for storage needed to balance medium- (hour over hour) or long (day/night, day over day) variation with wind power.

    • bink

      anything longer than 2 hrs in US is considered a capacity application avg is 4-6 hours, you can figure it out from there if you have MW number

      • TatuSaloranta

        Thank you. This is good to know for future reference. So 4-6 hr would be a reasonable estimate for conversion factor for US at this point. If so, quite similar to typical CSP storage, and seems adequate for balancing out, say, day/night variation for equivalent peak power amount?

        • bink

          yes, you want a long duration 4hr battery for this application (increased utilization of wind) that can follow morning load to deal with peak shoulder period as baseload is brought online.

          increasing utilization and capacity factor of wind this way encourages wind and solar as a greater part of the generation mix in US. And reduces fossil fuel fleet while providing needed reliability.

          reliability is a code word for peak demand power and grid disturbances

          keep in mind storage responds in milliseconds not minutes like so tcalled fast response gas turbines which (only ramp 20 MW min)

          most people dont understand reactive power needs are for the most part a local (distribution) requirement which distributed resources can deal with but our current centralized power system encourages additional power production to deal with this phenomenon

        • Otis11

          Well, bink is oversimplifying it a bit… there are two main types being built in the US right now – Frequency regulation and time shifting.

          Batteries meant for frequency regulation typically have a much higher power rating compared to their energy (May be 1:1 or even 1:2) and cycle many times per day. These plants are more common in number today but are typically not the large ones we see articles about.

          Battery facilities for time shifting typically move power from the night before to the evening peak. These charge once per day and, as bink said, typically have a 4-6 hour discharge window. Even though they are fewer in number, they tend to be large, and hence, we read articles about them.

          So, overall, if you’re reading an article about it, bink’s rule is probably accurate, but wanted to clarify.

          • bink

            a bit, I was just trying to give him that limited scope of information to answer his question. yes in a typical 15min frequency dispatch period you would cycle a few hundred times and in time shifting you could cycle a couple times or more a day depending on the control scheme.

            this is why I tell everyone that battery economics are not as simple as pricing because you would be hard pressed to pay for a battery with one service application or it will be a 15-20 year payback, the technology that can simultaneously perform power and energy services in a singular installation will win out in the long run.

            so while lithium is ahead right now it will be overtaken by true flow technology in the long run. utilities have yet to understand the attributes of a “true flow battery” and how it can benefit them.

            lithium is a one trick pony

          • Otis11

            Eh, while I agree that real flow batteries are likely to win in the long run for most grid applications (especially since the bread and butter of lithium batteries – frequency response – can largely be negated by demand response: I wouldn’t go so far as to call lithium batteries a “one-trick-pony.” It seems to me that lithium batteries are the “jack of all trades, master of none” – they’re good for cars, personal electronics and grid applications currently, and reasonably economic… but in the long run are likely to be beat out by more specialized batteries for each niche (Though if you can predict which will win for each, you’re much better than I).

            Or am I overlooking/oversimplifying something?
            (Notably, I’m an Electrical Engineer with a modest background in chemistry, solid state physics and economics with a bit more background in power electronics. So while I don’t know a bunch on the topic, I could probably follow an reasonable explanation if you have a better understanding and would be kind enough to explain? Or point me to more resources?)

          • bink

            when i made the statement i was referring to energy storage applications. without getting into a detailed technical discussion. lithium batteries power and energy are coupled whereas a true redox battery is a decoupled platform.

            which basically means the redox energy and power can be scaled independent of each other

            a true redox battery allows for a number of input and output connections and by tapping the battery cells simultaneous charge and discharge of the same current are achieved at differing voltage levels

            bottom line is it moves fluidly and simultaneously between power and energy applications in a single installation

            the energy and power coupling in the lithium platform does not allow for this, by manufacturing design the thickness of the electrode determines whether a lithium battery is to be used in a power or energy application. so called power or energy battery. once the design is chosen the battery loses the attribute of the opposite capability,

            example: a energy battery loses the power attribute and vice versa.

            in a frequency application the battery will cycle thousands of times a day whereas an energy battery will cycle 1-3 times a day.

            power =thinner electrode

            energy-thicker electrode

            this is why you see frequency services from lithium developers and no time shifting in a single application.

  • vensonata

    Great news. Just a few years ago storage seemed hopeless, now it is booming. We still need lots of incentives and subsidies though to prime the pump. Particularly home storage such as the Tesla powerwall needs to have the 30% tax rebate and a federal subsidy of another 30% to initiate this new experiment with residential energy storage integrated with rooftop PV. The early adopters need to be rewarded.

    • bink

      nope, that is not sustainable. we need regulation that identifies and allows fair compensation for the value of solar services and benefits. it can stand on its own if that happens. some technologies will win and some won’t

      • vensonata

        Yes, it is not sustainable. But eventually it will be. Every other tech from EV’s to PV has these kind of helpful starts. At some point it falls away when it comes into its own. All batteries should get plentiful support, including Vanadium.

        • bink

          all the incentives in the world will not move the technology towards fair compensation of its benefits. that will take market rules. for instance in a regulated states there is no capacity market just energy that you get compensated for, if regulators created a capacity market that opens things for storage to be compensated for a host of services, No incentives required

          • bink

            an example would be ERCOT (though generators are deregulated) regulates transmission and distribution, they are not subject to FERC pay for performance rules. their current market rules do pay a premium for fast response service even though the grid is receiving the benefit

          • bink

            sorry, meant to say ” do not pay a premium for fast response services though the system benefits

      • Brett

        Disagree, early adopters should be compensated to lower the investment hurdle. Phase out the benefit after it reaches a certain capacity in GWh if you want, but without incentives, deployment will move ahead sluggishly in free market economies (i.e. everyone but China).

        • bink

          the problem with the relationship between markets and storage is fair compensation of services and benefits, not costs as you have been led to believe.

          implement market rules where storage is properly compensated and no need for incentive,

          revenue will drive development, this is the issue my company is running into, utilities not wanting to pay for the grid benefits they receive

          This mostly happening in regulated states where there are energy but no capacity markets

          creating a capacity markets open up additional revenue opportunities and let the best storage technology win

        • Matt

          If you want to for a market, then the government should agree to buy storage. Have performance rules, at price level. Like was done with IC chips, to get that market going.

          • Brett

            I think there is a place for both. In Canada, some of the largest electricity utilities are still public, so they can buy storage directly, but where they are privatized, or transitioning its harder to point at a utility and force them to buy storage, but they can introduce tax credits for storage.

          • bink

            you dont need tax credits rate base it for utility grid application. putting storage at a substation for additional transformer capacity and providing voltage regulation and power factor correction service would be an example of substation distribution equipment deferment. and energy conservation benefits

    • Matt

      No, I don’t think that is the way to go. We need TOU pricing, split ownership of generation and distribution, restrictions so if you or family were ever associated with utility you can’t be on PUC.

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