With the growth of renewable energy around the world, the need for utilities to capture and store electricity for later use is becoming increasingly important. The demand for energy storage is driven by several trends, including the proliferation of intermittent renewable-energy sources such as wind and solar, the move toward Smart Grids, and the coming rise of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, to name just three. While storing electricity was once thought a practical impossibility, a variety of technologies have now emerged to disprove that theory, and the global energy storage market is poised to grow from $329 million in 2008 to $4.1 billion by 2018, according to a new report from Pike Research.

“About a dozen technologies are currently vying for a piece of the utility-scale energy-storage market,” said Clint Wheelock, Pike Research managing director. “In our analysis, the greatest potential for growth lies with advanced battery technologies, especially lithium-ion. Sodium-sulfur batteries, pumped hydro, and compressed-air energy-storage will also be important technologies in the years ahead.”

Pike Research's “Energy Storage Technology Markets” study analyzes the opportunity for several key technology categories, including advanced batteries, pumped hydro, compressed air, flow batteries and frequency regulation for utility-scale applications.