The market for energy storage is dynamic, but still immature. To date it has been dogged by three criticisms: the market is overstated (projects have been announced but are not online); energy storage is too expensive; and advanced storage technologies are dependent on government support. Nevertheless, according to a new tracker report from Pike Research, the number of projects deployed on a global basis continues to rise as technologies move at a variety of speeds toward commercialization. The total number of energy storage projects deployed and announced (including inactive projects) rose 8%, from 600 to 649, during the first half of 2012, the tracker report finds. The number of deployed projects increased over those 6 months from 482 to 514.
“Considerable momentum is building behind newer energy storage technologies, such as advanced batteries, particularly as the renewable energy community embraces storage as a means of mitigating risks associated with variable power generation resources,” says research analyst Brittany Gibson. “High costs remain a significant hurdle for newer technologies, but market interest is growing rapidly as government-funded programs encourage the deployment of a wide variety of technologies.”
The region with the largest base of energy storage is Asia Pacific, which has just over 60 GW of cumulative installed capacity. Reflecting the large domestic base of R&D and manufacturing for battery technologies, the technical diversity of energy storage projects in Asia Pacific is quite wide. While advanced batteries are staged to play a large role in the development of power systems across Asia Pacific, bulk energy storage technologies such as pumped hydro will play an increasingly important role in emerging markets like China.