America Leads Global Energy Storage Development, But China’s Catching Up
A look at how energy storage is expanding across the world.
Energy storage has gone global, but in a lumpy and heterogeneous way.
That’s the upshot of new report on worldwide storage deployments from GTM Research.
The U.S. and Australia led the pack in 2017, thanks to several mega-projects coming online, and market drivers that reward storage investment. Germany and Australia thrive in the residential storage segment, which hasn’t achieved significant scale in the U.S.
China is just getting started, but could surpass almost everyone in deployments over the next five years.
Home batteries hit their stride
Australia took top marks for residential storage, after tripling its annual deployments compared to 2016.
Storage companies there can tap a perfect storm of market drivers: pricey electricity rates, a massive population of homes that already have solar, and precipitous declines in the feed-in tariffs that compensate those solar customers. Batteries promise to maximize the solar investment through self-consumption.
Europe saw increasing residential deployments, led by Germany, which now boasts 80,000 batteries behind the meter (mostly homes, but some businesses, too). Both Germany and Japan used incentives to encourage residential storage adoption as a way to mitigate the grid management challenges that come with large influxes of distributed solar.
The U.S. is still learning to crawl by comparison. GTM Research counted fewer than 1,000 grid-connected residential battery deployments in 2016 and 3,049 in 2017. The 80,000 range looks a long way off.
Progress in the land of battery makers
South Korea’s transmission and distribution utility Kepco set itself a target in 2014: 500 megawatts in four years.
Last year the country installed 112 megawatts across four projects, bringing the cumulative total to 370 megawatts. The primary use case is frequency regulation, in which the batteries defer more expensive payments to conventional generators, freeing them up to focus on energy.
“Storage can achieve the same or better level of performance, given their rapid and efficient response, for signals that are rapidly moving up and down,” Manghani said.
The downside for the storage industry in Korea is that Kepco identified exactly how much storage it needed for ancillary services, and it’s building exactly that. This isn’t likely to become an ongoing business opportunity; instead, developers will look to longer-duration projects for renewables integration.
What’s interesting about Korea’s deployments is that they double as a national economic development program. All the batteries and power conversion equipment came from Korean vendors.
That’s not to say Kepco put patriotism before quality: South Korea is home to some of the top battery companies in the world, most notably LG Chem and Samsung SDI. The approach illustrates the possibilities that arise when a country merges grid policy with jobs policy.
Avots: Green Tech Media
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