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Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy

Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com

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Ranking the Top Four Battery Storage World Powers

  • China is leading the battery storage installation race, followed by Europe, the United States, and Australia.
  • Battery storage costs have fallen significantly in recent years, making it a more affordable option for wind and solar generators.
  • Subsidies are crucial for the wider adoption of battery storage.
Energy

Battery storage installations last year reached 2,400 GWh. That represented a quadrupling of capacity over four years and was a testament to the growing popularity of battery storage as countries build ever more wind and solar generation systems.

The International Energy Agency reported last month that battery costs had fallen by as much as $90 since 2010, making battery storage a much more affordable option for wind and solar generators. Yet battery storage still remains expensive in absolute terms, which makes subsidies crucial for its wider adoption.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest battery storage adopters geographically tend to be countries with substantial wind and solar buildouts. Here are the leaders in the battery storage space.

#1 China

China installed a whopping 34.5 GW of new battery storage last year—representing most of the total global additions in this space, which came in at 40 GW. Growth has continued strong this year as well. However, forecasts are for a slowdown on a full-year basis in 2024, to 30.1 GW. That’s according to the China Energy Storage Alliance, which also said that in an ideal case, installations could grow by 19% this year from last to 42.1 GW.

That ideal case, however, would have to involve significantly improved profitability for battery storage installations. According to unnamed industry sources who spoke to Reuters recently, battery storage is not a popular business path because they have high upfront costs, which reduces overall profitability—despite the consistent decline in costs that the IEA talked about in its report.

#2 Europe

European countries saw their combined battery storage capacity increase by 10 GW last year, which was more than three times less new storage than installed in China but still more than what was installed in the United States. It was also a pretty solid increase in capacity compared to 2022, when total new installations came in at just 4.5GW.

The impressively large increase was attributed to government support for new battery storage installations and what one consultancy called “improving market conditions for storage”. Whether this support and the improving market conditions will help Europe realize its goal of boosting its battery storage capacity to the planned 60 GW in the next two and a half years remains an open question. It would require the addition of three times the 2023 new battery capacity in 2025 and 2026 each.

#3 United States

The United States saw its total battery storage capacity, including operational and planned, reach some 16 GW at the end of last year, per data from the Energy Information Administration. California was the runaway leader with a capacity of 7.3 GW, followed by Texas, with close to 3.2 GW, and, much further behind, Arizona, with 803 MW in battery storage capacity. The top 10 list of states with the most battery storage capacity also featured Nevada, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, and Hawaii.

Battery storage has increased in popularity in the last few years as states with abundant wind and solar enthusiasm realize these installations need backup. Now, battery storage has become a requirement for some utility-scale installations, not only in the United States but in Europe, too.

#4 Australia

Australia gained attention for its battery industry several years ago as the place where Elon Musk said he would build the world’s largest battery installation ever. Since then, the record has been broken, but Australia has gained its place among the top destinations for battery storage—thanks to its ambitious wind and especially solar plans.

Down Under saw new battery installations of 2.5 GWh last year, which was a record amount. Australia is also the leader in terms of planned battery storage capacity. It had some 40 GW in the pipeline as of mid-2023, according to Wood Mackenzie, surpassing even China.

The reason: “The recent surge in renewable energy and competitive market design has made Australia one of the most attractive markets for grid-scale energy storage globally. Helped by the presence of competitive wholesale and frequency control markets offering diverse revenue streams for battery storage, and significant funding from the Australian government providing revenue certainty to storage projects.”

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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