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Published on January 26th, 2016 | by Glenn Meyers


World Energy Council Report: Energy Storage Has Solid Future

January 26th, 2016 by  

Renewable energy storage endeavors appear to be highly attractive business models worldwide for the year 2016.

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.

energy storage Resources-E-storage-report-2016.01.15_final_version_Page_01-212x300With the cost of capturing and storing wind and solar energy coming down, energy storage deployment across the world will increase, finds the report.

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

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About the Author

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

  • Thanks for the comments!
    As to details on the technology please visit Humpback Hydro and as for media coverage, it would seem that the media sees Battery, CAES & Flywheel as the only viable energy storage solutions, yet pump storage hydro dominates the current landscape and with my technology entering the market, well, I will let the public decide on what they think is best.
    So what is the difference?
    Only a few dozen countries currently have the right topography to build a PSH facility, but with my solution, the technology allows for ALL countries to capitalize on the benefits of my Ocean/Lake PSH which are very scalable to meet the needs of the Utility today & in the future.

  • Jenny Sommer

    My favorite new storage idea…

    Somewhere in there is a supposed LasVegas storage plant…would be fun to built one near the GigaFactory 🙂

    Says Musk estimates global storage needs at 90.000GWh.

  • Humpback Hydro Inc.

    Actually, the year of Ocean Pump Storage Hydro.( US Patent 8823195) This is a new and improved way to do pump storage hydro, and can be built no matter what the topography. It is the grid scale energy storage answer, the “Holy Grail” that many like to use. My system has all the same aspects of PSH just no evaporation loss and does not create environmental damage! Humpback Hydro

  • Graphite Gus

    “2016 appears to be the year of the battery“ or is it 2015?
    this reminds me of the presentations I did around 1990, when I was in the PC industry, that said
    “199X is the year of the LAN…“ (Local Area Network for those under 40) We all saw the power of connectivity but the technology was not quite there at the time. I suspect we will be saying the same thing about storage for a couple of years yet, but I fully expect an explosion

  • Steve Middleton

    It’s a nice thought but energy density of batteries is but a drop in the ocean.I reckon power to gas is the future………and small modular reactors for base load power.

    • vensonata

      “…and small modular reactors for base load power.” Oh, oh, you put your foot in it with that little phrase. Power to gas, yes, some.

    • Ross

      Good luck with that.

  • vensonata

    So a question to all. (And maybe a good article polling question for Zach). What price per kwh would tempt you to buy a home storage battery? 12 cents kwh, 9 cents, 6cents, 3 cents. Do you have PV rooftop already?

    • harisA

      0, if you are net metered.

      • vensonata

        That is a legitimate answer which I suspect the majority will give at this time. However, there are other minority attitudes out there which I would be interested in hearing.

        • harisA

          Per my understanding, in San Diego, Time of Use rates differ by about 25 cents/kwh in summer between peak and off peak use. So, that is the upper limit if you only use storage.
          That being said, solar makes way more sense as the user can get paid essentially ~40c/kwh for any PV generated electricity. You will have to be on Tiered rate rather than TOU and size your system appropriately.
          I do have a 3.6kW rooftop system that I self installed:-), which generates 100% of my annual needs (~5000kWh).

  • Marion Meads

    Now if the prices can only go down… The Tesla Powerwall is still overpriced, IMO, given that you can get additional 24 kWH lithium battery pack installed on the Nissan Leaf for just $6,500! I am tempted to tinker with that 24 kWH battery pack for battery energy storage.

    • Jamset

      The Powerwall can be cycled many more times than EV batteries.

      EV batteries can do 1000 cycles. While Powerwalls can do 3000-5000 cycles.

    • vensonata

      Research the tax rebate in relation to batteries. If it is applicable, then suddenly you have a 30% decrease in price. Also I would not be surprised to hear of state incentives for home storage. So… would you go for it if the Tesla powerwall 7kwh was half the price? I would estimate that, at in the 6 cents kwh range.

    • harisA

      Seems people are buying it, so for them the price makes sense.

      • Matt

        Are they being delivered yet? if not how many have paid the full price yet?

        • harisA

          I have heard I Australia they are being offered. Everyday we read and an inverter manufacturer supporting them. So, I guess they are slowly being adapted. Not heard of any rebates yet.

    • eveee

      You can’t just add a leaf battery to solar. The voltages may not match. You need a dcdc converter. PowerWall has it. Also, you cannot buy a leaf battery from Nissan without a trade in from a leaf. Apples and oranges. Some people are getting used EV packs for solar. Even a worn out one could still have 80% capacity left.

  • vensonata

    2016 appears to be the year of the battery. For the first time, a percentage of the mainstream population will experiment with storing electricity at home. Germany and Australia will be the main centers for this, a few in the U.S. as well. We will see a lot of interested evaluation of case studies over the next year or two.

    Although, I must say that the Tesla battery announcement in May stated that the batteries would be available by “Summer”. We are ending January and still they are “just about” to arrive. So I guess we shouldn’t hold our breath.

    • Jamset

      2015 was the year of the battery. Musk should have been Time magazine’s person of the year.

      Or maybe the Powerwall should have been “battery of the year”.

      The Powerwall launch got the whole world talking about grid storage!

      Every Tom, Dick, and Harry saw that we can power the world using solar panels.

      • harisA

        Not so fast! In a lot of third world countries millions of people have been using lead acid battries with inverters to provide power when the grid is down because of load shedding or breakdown. A lot of them also have solar panels to charge the batteries. In this way they do not have to be grid connected.

        My own brother in Pakistan has a 5KWh system that he has been using for five years. Batteries are cheap automotive type, last two years and cost $200-$300 to replace.

        • Jamset

          What about remote or off-grid mobile phone towers in Pakistan?

          Till recently, the ones in Hindustan were powered by diesel after sunset rather than batteries.

          Maybe diesel was subsidised too much to make lead acid batteries viable.

          • harisA

            Most off grid and on-grid backup in Pakistan is diesel as it omly costs $0.50/kwh (as of last summer prices). There are no diesel subsidies (there is actually a tax)

            Generally diesel that are available generators are rated at 10kW or more. A 20KW set can cost $15,000 so it is too expensive for most people.

            Lead acid battery based inverters are used by households that do not use air conditioning when the grid is down. For lighting, fans and refrigerator use, a 2KW modified sine wave inverter system works very well.

    • vensonata

      I checked again on Australia for Powerwall installations. A company called “Natural Solar” will install a 6 kw Pv including a Tesla 7 kwh powerwall for a total of $11,200 U.S. dollars. That is Australian $15,990. That includes rebates, taxes etc. (And yes it includes the inverter) That is $1.86 per watt. That is half the price of a PV rooftop installed system in the U.S. without the battery! I typed the info into the NREL site and if that set up was in Las Vegas it would produce electricity for 9 cents kwh. That is without the Tax subsidy! So there you go … self use of stored electricity and direct use combined at the household level for 25% less than the U.S. national grid price average. Take some time to fully absorb those numbers and the implications.

      • eveee

        Isn’t that already true in Australia? Pretty sunny there, too. Is Ronald listening?

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