U.S. energy storage industry set to grow

Battery Storage

As more companies turn to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, the U.S. battery storage industry is set to experience booming growth.

The energy storage market is set to grow to an annual installation size of 6 gigawatts in 2017 and more than 40 gigawatts by 2022, according to research firm IHS, a large jump from the 0.34 gigawatts that were installed in 2012-2013. The firm predicts that the solar energy storage market alone will swell to $19 billion by 2017, well past the market’s 2012 value of less than $200 million.

The New York Times reported that while battery storage systems are expensive, costing upward of $500 for each kilowatt-hour in operation, markets in New York and California are well positioned to adopt large systems.

“Our goal is to basically create promising technical options that we hope over time, with additional investment either from the government or from private sources to allow us to continue driving down that cost curve and get closer to those numbers,” Paul Albertus, a program director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, part of the Energy Department, said, according to the Times.

Large utility companies and the military are also exploring new battery systems. According to the Times, the U.S. Army is currently installing a large-scale battery storage system created by Vionx Energy at Fort Devens in Massachusetts. The system uses vanadium flow batteries, which are as large as a cargo ship but cheaper to manufacture than lithium ion batteries, and can last for 20 years at full capacity.

Energy companies hope to use the insight gleaned from the use of large-scale battery storage systems to create more affordable systems for individual and home use.