ORIGINAL REPORTING: Is battery energy storage 'turning point' now?
Is battery energy storage at a 'turning point' for US utilities? Speedy deployments of long-duration storage last year in California could mark a watershed moment for the sector
Herman K. Trabish, April 11, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The most recent forecasts show battery prices on a trajectory to reach $100/kWh by about 2025, which will utterly change the power and transportation sectors. Change utterly.
In a famous children's fable, a stuffed rabbit becomes real when its owner believes in it. The nation’s utilities may now be similarly transforming battery energy storage. The U.S. utility-scale battery storage installed capacity grew by another 221 MW in 2016 as costs continued to drop, according to a recent GTM Research/Energy Storage Association report. More importantly, the sector last year doubled the amount of megawatt-hours (MWh) of battery capacity deployed compared to 2015. This, analysts say, shows growth in the use of long-duration batteries and an increased confidence that the large energy storage facilities can be used to help manage peak demand.
The longer duration capacity growth was largely from California battery storage projects brought online in 2016 to address power grid needs created by the shutdown of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility due to a methane leak in 2015. Those batteries were rushed online to provide peak demand electricity that local power plants could not supply without natural gas from the Aliso Canyon facility. They represented 60 MW of the 221 MW added last year, but accounted for 168 MWh of the total 336 MWh deployed in 2016. The fast deployment of those California grid-scale batteries — all sited, constructed and put into operation in nine months — has a number of analysts and sector insiders touting 2016 as a “turning point” for energy storage. But others say the true storage revelation is yet to occur, as utilities discover how to better capture the multiple values of storage… click here for more
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