ORIGINAL REPORTING: Energy Storage Costs Coming Down
Some energy storage already cost competitive, new valuation study shows; A new report from Lazard breaks down the costs of 8 different storage technologies
Herman K. Trabish, November 24, 2015 (Utility Dive)
Although the global battery industry is large, the energy storage system manufacturing sector is “tiny” compared to other industries, and costs will come down “dramatically” as it scales up. Storage is at “an inflection point" according to Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis 1.0 Some storage technologies are already cost-competitive with conventional alternatives in certain applications like frequency regulation or deferring distribution investment. Others, for other applications, are close.
The crucial thing to understand about energy storage system technologies is they are rated both for “instantaneous power capacity and potential energy output,” the report explains. Instantaneous power capacity is “the maximum output of the inverter (in MW, kW, etc.) under specific operational and physical conditions.” Potential energy output, often called "usable energy," is “the maximum amount of energy (in MWh, kWh, etc.) the system can store at one point in time.”
Building on methodologies developed for its nine listings of the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for generation technologies, Lazard considered both duration and capacity for its levelized cost of storage (LCOS). The study considered both the capital cost of the system per unit of instantaneous power capacity and per unit of potential energy output. In today’s marketplace, energy storage systems are most economically viable “in use cases that require relatively greater power capacity and flexibility as opposed to energy density or duration,” Lazard reports. Increasing system duration costs more than system power, meaning battery life is harder and more expensive to increase than battery size. The eight technologies examined are Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES),flow batteries, flywheels, advanced lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries, Pumped Hydro Storage (PHS), sodium batteries, and zinc batteries. click here for more