Having been subject to discussion for years within the academic sphere, energy storage projects have become a topic of high interest to energy sector focused investors in recent years.
Decreasing cost curves, changing regulatory environments within the energy markets such as deregulation and shifts away from subsidised renewables to market pricing modes, and evolving software capabilities, are increasing investor confidence in energy storage investments and result in increased demand for investment opportunities.
While this seems to be true especially for more mature renewable energy markets like Europe, the United States and several others, investors are facing the problem that energy storage projects as investments are – in most cases – discussed on a very abstract basis. Only considering the “big picture” and seeing the project as a future pillar of the energy market leaves out details such as the complexity coming with energy storage investments in practice.
In my opinion, the propensity to drastically reduce complexity by discussing energy storage as high-level topic has developed based on two major factors:
Firstly, energy storage is still a new topic in the market compared to the long history of energy generation and transmission. Hence, while accumulators and especially batteries seem to be part of consumers’ lives ever since, the discussion about energy storage as a viable part of the electricity market structure is relatively trendy and new. In addition, due to the high diversity of technology types and their evolution, economies of scale and market consolidation (as seen currently in the photovoltaic market) are not yet reached. This leads to different potentials, resulting in an ultimate mess of investment cases. Supported by the fact that storage investments are often declared as a “venture capital topic”.
Second, the high variety of different operational modes results in a high density in varying underlying business models. This depends heavily on local electricity market structures, including installed generation capacities, energy balance, share of renewables and subsidy situation.
In summary, the combining factors of a high density of different technology types and development stages as well as the high variety of different usage types have led to a situation where energy storage is often considered only as party of the big picture, thus not helping investors in getting viable information most relevant to them.read more