Energy storage, driven largely by electronics and plug-in vehicles, will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 percent to $50 billion in 2020, with dramatic shifts coming from the transportation industry, according to Lux Research.
Energy storage is the key technology for unleashing the full potential of microgrids, the smart grid, and renewable energy sources. The energy storage systems industry has a market poised for substantial growth and multi-billion dollar annual sales worldwide within a few years, but that assumption is based on removing some current barriers. The 2013 DOE/EPRI Energy Storage Handbook lays out the three biggest hurdles to broader adoption of energy storage technologies, including high cost, difficulty in deployment, and lack of standards.
Navigant Research says that nanogrids are "big business," compared to microgrids. Even though microgrids exhibit exponential growth and share synergistic properties with nanogrids, substantial deployments of nanogrids are already deployed. Because of the simplicity, the technology requirements for nanogrids are less complex, in most cases, than those for either microgrids or the utility-dominated smart grid.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the Microgrid 2014 MVP Challenge-- a competition to support resiliency and adaptation in communities across America. The challenge will recognize local organizations that have adopted successful grid strategies which can continue providing vital public services during power disruptions caused by severe weather and other events.
Energy markets are evolving toward a greater reliance on distributed energy resources (DER). Virtual power plants (VPP) are emerging as a successful way to manage DER's increasing two-way complexity by combining a diversity of independent resources into a network via sophisticated planning, scheduling, and bidding of DER-based services, according to Navigant Research.
Markets for energy storage technologies in the United States are expected to grow substantially through 2030, with increased investments spurred by state and federal regulatory policies that encourage renewable sources of electric power to supply the grid. The data comes from a Copper Development Association (CDA) study conducted by KEMA, which examines the current market for electrical grid energy storage applications and the future potential for technological growth.
As renewable energy proliferates and the need for advanced energy storage increases, research and development of new battery chemistries is moving quickly.
Adequate physical infrastructure remains necessary but is no longer sufficient for urban cities in the 21 st Century. Information and communications technologies (ICT) and virtual social networks are essential to ensure a clean, economical and safe environment in which people can live, work and play and in which they can get and use the goods and services that they want and need. Essentially every aspect of urban life, including the physical infrastructure, ICT and virtual social networks, requires electric power and energy-- the grid.
Utilities are largely accepting of an energy future characterized by increasingly distributed forms of energy generation and storage, and are taking action to ready themselves and shape the outcomes.
The electricity grid-- one of the most complex networks in the modern economy-- has functioned, for the most part, without any stored resources. However, the rapid expansion of distributed, renewable energy resources is increasing demand for energy storage on the grid even as technological advances in electrochemistry are enabling advanced batteries to play an increasingly important role in grid management.