Energy storage costs could decrease up to 70% in the next 15 years, according to a report called E-Storage: Shifting from Cost to Value, by Paul Gardner from DNV GL and other authors. PriceWaterhouseCoopers also contributed cost analysis, along with inputs from 23 experts.
Another key point from the report is that the authors believe the true cost of energy storage hasn’t been documented very accurately, because it doesn’t factor in revenue benefits. They also say the metric that is generally used, the levelized cost of energy, is actually hampering the progress of energy storage.
“We found clear indications that a narrow focus on costs alone drives the common misperception that electrical energy storage is more expensive than it really is,” said Gardner.
It’s very good news that energy storage is likely to decrease in cost over the coming years, and by a large amount. Energy storage is the main missing piece of the renewable energy puzzle — one that solar and wind power enthusiasts have wanted for a long time.
In fact, a summary of part of the report said, “Solar storage will become more competitive as new battery technology drives prices down, and wind storage more attractive as technical advances in areas such as composite materials enables the power generated by wind turbines to increase.”
Some other key points are:
- Go beyond just costs – cheapest is not always best
- Examine storage through holistic case studies – generic cost estimates are not sufficient
- Work with operators and regulators to accelerate the development of flexible markets.
The report contains a number energy storage project snapshots. For example, in one for an Enel Green Power PV storage project in Italy, the following benefits were noted:
- Active energy management
- Improved predictability of generation
- Less volatile generation profile
- Provision of ancillary services to the grid.
These were the benefits for a grid-connected energy storage project in Portugal:
- Increase in grid reliability
- Improvement of grid power quality
- Reduction of grid losses.
It’s great to see benefits listed for these projects, because they generally aren’t talked about that much — at least by the press. One might get the idea that energy storage is exclusively for emergency backup or for storing excess electricity from a home solar power system.
Image Credit: Sandia.gov