January 11, 2019 Read More →

Energy storage set to enter the big time in 2019, analysts say

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

By most measures, 2018 was a long-anticipated breakout year for batteries, with record volumes of investment flowing into research, product development and manufacturing as prices plummeted, governments established new policies supporting energy storage and mass markets emerged for electric vehicles and electrochemical energy storage.

That progress, though uneven across U.S. and international markets, sets the stage for a new era for energy storage in 2019 and beyond, industry analysts said.

While growth faltered in some regions in 2018, global annual energy storage additions more than doubled, to 9 GWh, and are on pace to surge another 78% in 2019, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

U.S. energy storage deployments, on a rated-power basis, jumped 57% to an estimated 338 MW in 2018 following three years of flat to negative growth, Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables estimates, while order backlogs point to annual additions of roughly 660 MW in 2019, 1,700 MW in 2020 and more than 3,850 MW by 2023.

In the United States, the development pipeline for utility-scale projects doubled in 2018 to about 33 GW, according to a recent report from Wood Mackenzie and the Energy Storage Association. Even that estimate may be low. Roughly 25 GW was in the California Independent System Operator Corp.’s interconnection queue as of Dec. 14, including nearly 6,000 MW hybridized with solar, more than twice the amount listed midway through the year. More than 10,000 MW, or 10 GW, are in the interconnection queues of other grid operators around the country.

“I can beat a gas peaker anywhere in the country today with a solar-plus-storage power plant,” Tom Buttgenbach, president and CEO of developer 8minutenergy Renewables LLC, said in an interview. “Who in their right mind today would build a new gas peaker? We are a factor of two cheaper.”

More ($): Amid global battery boom, 2019 marks new era for energy storage

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