5 Predictions For The Global Energy Storage Market in 2019

on December 12, 2018

Greentech-Media2018 has been a big, yet bumpy, year for the U.S. energy storage market. We’ve seen huge increases in behind-the-meter installations in homes and businesses, but also supply bottlenecks and policy uncertainties that restrained larger-scale battery installations.

How are these trends likely to play out next year?

That’s the topic that Ravi Manghani, energy storage research director at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, took up in Tuesday’s opening presentation at Greentech Media’s annual Energy Storage Summit in San Francisco. Manghani sketched out the key developments of 2018, and made five “bold, and not so bold,” predictions for what will be different in 2019.

The first is that utility-scale energy storage installations, after seeing a drop in the first three quarters of 2018 compared to last year, will pick up again next year. As Manghani noted, the front-of-meter battery market is inherently a lumpy one, with one or two massive projects dominating annual figures.

But there’s also been a policy issue holding up utility-scale storage this year, Manghani said. The uncertainty over how the nation’s grid operators are going to implement Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 841, approved in February has stalled projects. Order 841 broadly directs grid operators to create market mechanisms that accommodate batteries’ unique abilities to both charge and discharge from the grid, and ramp up and down at speeds that traditional generators can’t match. But the details of how each ISO and RTO plans to implement FERC’s requirements has been the subject of much debate in the energy industry, as we’ve noted in ongoing coverage of the various straw proposals coming out over the past few months.

With grid operators finally filing their official Order 841 compliance plans with FERC this month, the energy storage industry now has a much more complete picture of how each grid operator is planning to move forward. While the Energy Storage Alliance (ESA) does have complaints about these final plans, indicating there’s more debate ahead, opening up Order 841-mandated market changes this year is still expected to open a massive new set of opportunities to serve in wholesale energy and ancillary services markets.

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Fractal Energy Storage Consultants5 Predictions For The Global Energy Storage Market in 2019