For the stationary battery sector, the next two decades are going to be seismic. According to BloombergNEF’s Energy Storage Outlook 2019, capacity will grow from 9GW in 2018 to a staggering 1,100GW by 2040, a 122-fold increase. However, if the sector is to rise to the challenges it needs significant investment, to the tune of $662bn according to the research provider.
The report highlighted a number of significant changes that are, or will, shape the market in the coming decades: from the continuing fall in raw material costs to growing utilisation of stationary storage on an industry scale. Report co-author Yayoi Sekine said analysts now think, “the majority of new capacity will be utility-scale, rather than behind-the-meter at homes and businesses.”
It’s a significant shift from what has previously been seen, but one that will shape the market as it moves towards a critical and increasingly advanced stage. However, many have warned that, despite its growing importance, the electric vehicle (EV) portion – and to a lesser extent mobile devices – are dominating the narrative and potentially holding back development, something that needs to be addressed.
Stationary batteries set for a boom?
Branding it the second wave, some industry players, however, believe the stationary power market is set to explode with the right investment and nurturing. US-based analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Dennis Wamsted, says he finds it hard to fathom the argument that EVs are having a detrimental impact on stationary storage.
“I do not believe the EV market is ‘holding back’ the development,” he says. “In their latest quarterly report, the Energy Storage Association and Wood Mackenzie estimated that installations in the power sector battery storage market would grow to more than 7GW annually by 2025, creating a market worth more than $7bn. That does not seem like a market being held back by anything.”
That is, however, not to say the market doesn’t have its challenges. Whilst the popularity of renewables has been increasing unabated, with new wind and solar farms coming on stream at a record-setting pace, the biggest challenge remains stationary energy storage systems (ESS) batteries. Renewables are now a vital part of many countries’ energy mix, providing significant amounts of power. But capturing unused power when these elements aren’t available continues to be the challenge.