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Utility-Scale Batteries Return 82% Of Stored Electricity

The utility-scale batteries operating in the United States had an efficiency of retrieving the stored electricity at 82 percent in 2019, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Friday.

Pumped-storage facilities—the largest energy storage resource in the U.S. with 21.9 gigawatts (GW) of capacity accounting for 92 percent of total energy storage capacity as of November 2020—had a round-trip efficiency of 79 percent, the EIA said. 

Utility-scale battery capacity in the United States has been growing exponentially in recent years as it has been increasingly paired with soaring new wind and solar capacity installations. So battery capacity has become the second-largest source of electricity storage. As of November 20, 2020, utility-scale batteries had 1.4 GW of operational capacity. This year alone, 4 GW of battery capacity is scheduled to come online, according to EIA’s Preliminary Electric Generator Inventory.  

“The role of batteries and their capability to provide high levels of round-trip efficiency may become more important as batteries continue to be deployed and as the intermittent renewables share of the electricity mix grows,” the administration noted. By 2025, U.S. battery storage capacity is expected to rise to 7.5 GW.

Alongside rising shares of solar and wind power in the electricity mix, the U.S. is set to see increased energy storage installation as storage is critical to ensuring more solar and wind power generation.

America has the potential to see 100 GW of new energy storage deployed by 2030, the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) said in a white paper in August 2020. 

This is an ambitious target, considering that in its previous estimate from 2017, ESA projected 35 GW of energy storage— including batteries, thermal, mechanical, and pumped storage hydro—installed by 2025. The ambitious 100-GW target of new energy storage is achievable if supportive policies and emerging policies removing barriers to market participation continue, the trade association says. 

By OPC Markets

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