Even Before Texas: Disasters Accelerating Energy Storage Deployment

March 9, 2021

Scientific American:

The energy storage industry is shattering records for battery deployments, underscoring its growing role in decarbonizing the economy.

In the last three months of 2020, nearly 2.2 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy storage systems were put into operation, according to the energy data firm Wood Mackenzie. That’s an increase of 182% from the previous record-setting quarter.

The blockbuster fourth quarter capped a year that saw a total of 3.5 GWh installed—more than the 3.1 GWh that went into operation in the previous six years combined. That torrid growth has industry boosters and researchers feeling very bullish about the prospects for energy storage.

“This is the hallmark of a market beginning to accelerate exponentially, and momentum will only increase over the coming years,” Dan Finn-Foley, Wood Mackenzie’s head of energy storage, said in a press release.

Energy storage systems are often used to capture power when the supply of wind or solar energy exceeds demand. Electric utilities, businesses or homeowners can then draw on those systems to produce emission-free electricity when intermittent renewable energy is unavailable.

A study released last month by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine examined how the U.S. can bring its carbon emissions down to net zero by midcentury, which scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Energy storage was a key part of that road map (Climatewire, Feb. 3).

The Wood Mackenzie report, produced in conjunction with the U.S. Energy Storage Association trade group, found that most of the growth last year was due to large-scale installations from utility companies.

California, which suffered a series of climate-related blackouts last year, was the top market for energy storage systems in 2020. The Golden State led in all three market segments that the report detailed: “residential”; “non-residential,” meaning mostly businesses; and “front-of-the-meter,” which mainly refers to utilities.

3 Responses to “Even Before Texas: Disasters Accelerating Energy Storage Deployment”

  1. J4Zonian Says:

    Love this graph. Everything we’re doing should look like this, with the scale exponentially greater in each successive time period.

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