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Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba is a writer and journalist based in Mexico City. She has extensive experience writing and editing environmental features, travel pieces, local news in the…

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Commercial Energy Storage Reaches Major Milestone In The U.S.

The energy storage industry is booming. This is not new news -- the up-and-coming sector has been on a swift upward trajectory for quite a while, but now there are some new developments in the works that are set to catapult the industry into new levels of success.  Last year, Oilprice reported that the energy storage industry was “exploding” as grid-connected energy storage deployments had increased significantly around the globe with a hefty annual compound annual growth rate of “74% worldwide in the years 2013 to 2018, with a ‘boom’ in deployment figures expected over the next five years,” according to Energy Storage News reporting based on Wood Mackenzie analysis in April. 

Asia has been at the helm of this book, with China poised to dominate the energy storage market, as its “cumulative energy storage capacity is projected to skyrocket from 489 megawatts (MW) or 843 megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2017 to 12.5 gigawatts (GW) or 32.1GWh in 2024,” an impressive increase ”in the installed base of 25 times.” This puts China on track to become the single biggest energy storage market in the Asia Pacific region by 2024, according to reporting by British data analysis and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie. 

While Asia is at the helm of the global energy storage market, however, the United States is also set to significantly increase its own capacity in the coming years and significantly contribute to the global energy storage boom, with China and the U.S. “set to dominate with over 54% of the market by 2024 shared between them.” 

And the boom is just beginning. According to WoodMac’s reporting, “the ancillary services market will be transitioning from a basic compensation mechanism to a market integrated with spot energy prices by 2020. That, along with maturity in technology and subsequent cost reduction, are key factors that will contribute to the exponential growth in the nation’s energy storage market through to 2024.” We’re already starting to see major developments for some of these revolutionary tech improvements, from solid-state batteries and green hydrogen solutions to bio-based materials such as shrimp shells

Related: New Tech Puts Lithium Batteries Back In The Energy Storage Race

And now, just last week, the energy storage industry received yet another massive boost from the United States’ federal appeals court in a landmark decision. “In a victory for the energy storage industry, a federal appeals court has upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 841,” Wood Mackenzie’s Greentech Media reported last week, “clearing the way for transmission grid operators across the country to open their markets to energy storage, including aggregated batteries connected at the distribution grid or behind customers’ meters.”

In the Friday court decision, FERC was given jurisdiction over energy storage’s affairs with interstate transmission markets, and rejected utility and state utility regulators’ arguments that wanted to opt out of Order 841. Ultimately the court sided with FERC’s stance that “[k]eeping the gates open to all types of ESRs — regardless of their interconnection points in the electric energy systems — ensures that technological advances in energy storage are fully realized in the marketplace, and efficient energy storage leads to greater competition, thereby reducing wholesale rates.” 

What’s more, the apocalyptic moments that we are seeing more and more around the world, whether it be due to climate change or the novel coronavirus pandemic, are encouraging a new approach to energy and, more importantly, energy autonomy. Just one example is the booming energy storage industry brought on in California due to the rolling blackouts that are being used as a strategy to avoid another one of the state’s devastating forest fires. As we have seen global supply chains interrupted and conventional fossil fuel markets flung into disarray, this interruption to the status quo has opened up what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spark what the World Economic Forum advocated as a “new energy order.” 

By Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com 

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