The latest “Energy storage forecast 2016–2030” from Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts explosive growth in energy storage over the next 12 years. BNEF says storage will grow in much the same way that solar power grew between 2010 and 2015. Solar power expanded 700% during that time. It sees a six fold increase in energy storage to 305 gigawatt-hours between now and the year 2030. Making that happen will require an investment in excess of $100 billion.
The United States is expected to be responsible for a quarter of the new storage capacity, with the remainder spread among nations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. China, Japan, India, Germany, Australia, South Korea, and the UK will play a major role in the expansion, according to BNEF. “Energy storage, both utility-scale and behind-the-meter, will be a crucial source of flexibility throughout this period and will be essential to integrating increasing levels of renewable energy,” reads a statement from the BNEF staff.
The International Renewable Energy Agency says battery storage worldwide totaled only 1 gigawatt-hour at the beginning of 2017. Its prediction is that there will be 250 gigawatt-hours of storage installed by 2030. Either way, the increase in energy storage should be nothing short of meteoric in the coming decade or so.
One aspect of the latest advisory from BNEF that has gone under-reported is this — BNEF expects fully 50% of that increase in energy storage to take place “behind the meter.” In other words, storage by large commercial actors such as Walmart, Google, Amazon, and other large businesses, combined with residential solutions, will account for more of the new storage capacity as grid-scale storage for utilities.
BNEF says, “Utility-scale storage will be built to provide system-level services in the near term, but aggregating behind-the-meter energy storage becomes a viable alternative as the market for customer-sited storage grows. By 2030, behind-the-meter systems will represent over half of total capacity. These systems can also provide services such as frequency regulation and peaking capacity, on top of the savings they generate for customers.” It expects $30 billion will be invested in residential storage during this expansion phase.
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