FREMONT, CA: The ongoing energy transformation is driving energy companies towards a reassessment of infrastructural capabilities. Renewable sources of energy are finding numerous takers but possess limited reliability. Developing energy storage capabilities in renewable energy plants is the best way for energy sector companies to overcome the issues of reliability. When a satisfactory amount of solar and wind energy can be stored, the inconstancies due to sunlight or wind availability will be eliminated. As a consequence, the renewable energy sector will get a stimulus, consequently accelerating the commercial adoption of renewable energy.
Pumped-storage hydropower has been the favored means of utility-scale energy storage for some time now. As per the US Department of Energy, nearly 95 percent of large-scale energy storage in the nation is through pumped storage hydropower. But, the reduction in the prices of lithium-ion batteries is changing the storyline now. A study published by Scientific American cites a collection of statistics from various sources that point at the growth of lithium-ion batteries for utility-scale energy storage. The very article also mentions Wood Mackenzie's prediction about the energy storage market doubling and tripling between 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, respectively.
Although lithium-ion batteries are going to dominate the market, other energy-storage solutions are also appearing. Alternatives to lithium-ion batteries include flow batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. Together, these technologies can be used to enable the storage of energy that can later be utilized for four to eight hours. This amount of stored energy will permit solar-generated power to be supplied during peak demand times in the evening. Thus, large-scale energy storage can empower renewable energy producers significantly.
Cost-effective energy storage systems are vital for the continued development and adoption of renewable energy. By allowing renewable producers to supply solar and wind power even when energy generation is paused, large-scale energy storage gives renewable energy the edge that they lack.