Energy storage installations will be more than 20-times larger in 2030 than they were 10 years earlier and an investment of more than $262 billion is needed to stay on top of that trend, according to a forecast from BloombergNEF.
BNEF’s 2021 Global Energy Storage Outlook estimates 358 gigawatts and 1,028 gigawatt hours in 2030 of energy storage installations, up from 17 and 34 that were online by the end of 2020. The BNEF forecast suggests that 55% of the energy storage build by 2030 will be to provide the transition needed to store new energy sources, such as storing solar or wind power.
The United States and China are the two largest markets for energy storage and will represent more than half the world’s installations by 2030, the report finds.
Clean energy targets in the US are behind the push. The US Department of Energy has also addressed the importance and challenge of energy storage as renewable and clean energy is at the forefront of the country’s numerous climate goals. Those include using 100% carbon free power by 2035 and wind and solar already dominates renewable installations in the US.
In China, BNEF says the country plans to install 30 gigawatts of energy storage by 2025 and more strict renewable energy integration rules will boost installations further. The country has said it will move away from developing coal power plants and has been addressing recent energy limitations.
The US and China also announced at COP26 they would work together on climate initiatives.
BNEF says battery technology is driving the market and that lithium-ion technologies are replacing nickel-manganese-cobalt versions for the first time. BNEF also says sodium-ion batteries could play a role in the market by 2030.
The forecast expects customer-based batteries to grow at a steady pace and says energy storage located at businesses and homes will make up close to a quarter of installations by 2030. BNEF says that is due to electricity consumers wanting to use more self-generated solar power as well as have access to backup power.
Other uses such as using energy storage to counter grid investment will be minimal in most markets through 2030, but that could change if regulatory barriers are removed and incentives implemented that could make energy storage an alternative to infrastructure investment. The report says combined storage and renewable energy projects, especially solar facilities, are also becoming more common.
Technologies such as compressed air and thermal energy storage are being developed, the report says. They can provide longer use than batteries, but BNEF says it expects batteries to dominate the market into the 2030s because of price, established supply chains and success rates.
Asia-Pacific will lead energy storage builds on a megawatt basis by 2030, according to the report, but that the Americas will add more capacity by megawatt hours. This is because the storage plants in the US usually have more hours of storage.
Europe, the Middle East and Africa currently lags in energy storage installation because of a lack of targeted storage policies and incentives, BNEF says, despite ambitious climate targets in Europe.
BNEF says that could change with growth in the region, which could accelerate renewable energy and a lessening dependance on fossil fuels as well as the battery supply chain becoming more localized.
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