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Eamon Keane
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Eamon Keane has an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master's degree in Energy Systems, graduating both with first class honours. He has received the Institute of Mechanical Engineers Best Student Certificate, a Veolia Environment research scholarship and two IBM PhD... More
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  • Review of Energy Storage Market Forecasts 4 comments
    Sep 1, 2009 5:45 PM | about stocks: ABAT, ALTI, AXPW, HEV, ENS, ESNC, VLNCQ, ULBI, ACPW, BCONQ
    There is a lot of buzz surrounding energy storage at the moment. In my previous instablog I argued that storage is not needed to integrate renewables onto the grid. Further excellent discussion on the same question can be found here: Does Wind Need Energy Storage? Nevertheless there are other opportunities for storage, notably as an enabler of the smart grid. As such, many people are trying to forecast the future market potential of this area. Three prominent examples are:
    Energy Storage Technology Markets Pike Research (June 2009) [$3,500]
    A simplified, composite, view of their forecasts is presented below:

    After reading the executive summaries linked above, if you feel like dropping a few thousand bills on a report, you should go for the GreenTechMedia report.
    The Nanomarkets report appears quite woeful. Take for instance the following excerpt:
    As the percent of wind and solar on a grid passes above 10–15 percent instabilities can occur if there is no storage capacity. In fact, Ireland put a moratorium on the connection of new wind power to their national grid due to instabilities as the wind generating capacity exceeded 7% of overall grid capacity.”

    You could be forgiven for thinking Ireland abandoned wind. The moratorium referenced was for 6 months in 2003 when Ireland had 211MW of wind and was just getting to grips with wind integration. Today Ireland has 1,161MW which is actually 15% of grid capacity. Ireland is in fact aiming for 40% wind penetration with no storage.

    The Pike Research report states:

    While pumped hydro and CAES should persist as options and gobble up large amounts of dollars for a small number of projects, advanced Li-ion batteries will be the volume leader and the one technology with a clear and possibly astronomical growth trajectory.”
    Although generally reasonable, the report seems to place a bizarre emphasis on lithium-ion for grid storage. This is at variance with much reasoned analysis; see John Petersen’s articles for example.
    Finally the GreenTechMedia report seems to be the only one written by an expert in the area – John Kluza holds a masters in engineering from MIT and actually worked at a storage company (A123). Of the three, I recommend this report.
    The buzz about storage should, however, be tempered by the following quote from GreenTechMedia’s free SmartGrid report (July 2009):
    Unlike other sectors that will continue to grow step by step; a breakthrough in storage is still needed.”

    Disclosure: No Positions

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Comments (4)
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  • marketquant
    , contributor
    Comments (1269) | Send Message
    At a recent ERCOT meeting, participants seemed to be of the impression that the IBM study was "optimistic" -- and that more regulation will be needed than the study assumes. Also, there seems to be a push to raise the interconnection requirements for wind projects.
    15 Sep 2009, 01:19 PM Reply Like
  • Victor Babbitt
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
    The question of Wind 'needing' storage covers a multitude of issues. Wind plants are built when they are profitable for the investors, tax credits and all. The profitability comes directly from the PPAs. The PPAs for wind farms are remarkably low, as it is the utility that takes the risk on buying wind energy that mostly (in the central wind corridor) comes in at night.. the low load period. Storage can make wind and other renewables a standard dispatchable generator, and therefore higher PPAs, and therefore more Wind Energy built and integrated.
    1 Oct 2009, 01:48 PM Reply Like
  • truthteller
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
    I'm just not able to follow your logic or reasoning, regarding the importance of energy storage. The report from Greentech Media, titled "Grid Scale Energy Storage: Technologies and Forecasts Through 2015" reaches very different conclusions than those in either of your posts on energy storage.


    Probably one of the most striking statements found in the second paragraph emphasizes the importance of energy storage: "One of the major pieces required to make the new smart grid effective is a buffer in the system that can store energy to balance the whole grid system."


    In the conclusions section, the very first statement says: "Power-oriented (fast) energy storage will grow quickly in the near to mid term but will be constrained in the long term by a modest total market size."


    The future seems to be pretty bright for fast storage, as evidenced in the conclusions: "Production of fast energy storage in 2009 is estimated at 49 MW and is expected to grow to 479 MW or $500 million in 2015. The total market size for fast energy storage is estimated at about 7,137 MW total for the U.S. and about 37,828 MW for the world."


    Another statement points to the future of low-cost zinc-bromide, flow batteries, "New flow battery technology, particularly zinc-bromide, has recently become more cost effective than NaS for many implementations and is expected to grow to surpass NaS installations by 2015. "


    Another conclusion, points to the future of flow batteries: "In 2009, an estimated 147 MW were produced, but in 2015, 1,321 MW are expected to be produced with revenues of $1,978 million. The total market size is estimated at 85,000 MW in the U.S. and 450,000 MW in the world."


    Here's the link to the report: gtmresearch.com/re...
    17 Dec 2009, 12:57 AM Reply Like
  • Eamon Keane
    , contributor
    Comments (310) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » truthteller, I haven't actually read the full reports so I'm unable to analyse how they came up with their headline figures. If it was based on the flawed assumption that you need storage to integrate wind and solar, then I'm skeptical. Now if we can get to the point where we say you don't NEED storage but you can consider it as part of a range of options to manage variability, then we're making progress. In some cases storage may be the least-cost option however my assessment is that the marignal cost curve of storage is steep and that the other options - flexible generation, demand side management etc - are cheaper than storage.
    19 Dec 2009, 06:58 PM Reply Like
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