U.S. Grid Energy Storage Market is Strong and Poised for Exponential Growth
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The U.S. energy storage market is robust and offers tremendous potential for growth over the next 5 years according to the findings of a just released study sponsored by the Copper Development Association (CDA) and conducted by KEMA, Inc. The study, entitled Market Evaluation for Energy Storage in the United States determines the current market for grid energy storage in the U.S. and the associated copper demand in storage applications over the next five years. Thermal energy storage, pumped hydro power, compressed air energy storage (CAES), and distributed applications currently constitute the majority of the energy storage market and are used to support the integration of renewables such as wind power and solar photovoltaics.
Industry Forecasts Strong Investments in Energy Storage Markets Within the U.S., industry analysts forecast that $240 billion will be invested in storage grid applications over the next 10 years. Overall, government support is strong with the Department of Energy (DOE) Smart Grid Demonstration Grants project investing $772 million. Strong investments from the government and venture capitalists, successful demonstration projects, and recent technological advancements have all contributed to strong growth in the storage market.
Market drivers are energy independence and security; smart grid investments; time of use/peak demand rates; increase in renewables and distributed generation; and government policies, incentives and regulations. Though all sectors of the energy storage market show strong potential, from an application perspective distributed generation devices, renewable systems, and ancillary services show the greatest near term growth potential. Global opportunity over the next 10 to 20 years is estimated at upwards of 300 gigawatts (GW) in size, which translates into $200-$600 billion in value.
Copper’s Role in Providing Reliability and Conductivity Benefits in Energy Storage Applications Newer technologies are growing in size due to commercial investment and governmental support. Growth in the energy storage market over the next 5 years is estimated at between 2 to 4 GW with an estimated copper demand of 900- 3,000 tons.
Copper’s superior conductivity and reliability play a key role in the batteries, wiring, and motors used by these devices. Lithium-ion, flow and sodium batteries as well as flywheels, CAES, and pumped hydropower are strong users of copper at the unit level. Moreover, certain pieces of electrical equipment and supporting infrastructure—such as transformers, generators, inverters, cooling systems, other motors and wiring—rely on copper for efficient, reliable operation.
Zolaikha Strong, Director of Sustainable Energy at CDA notes “We are excited to see that the results of the study emphasize the growth and development of energy storage in the U.S. and support our belief that copper can play a vital role as a key component of energy storage in coming years. In this time of transformation of the electric grid, we encourage policy makers to support the growth of storage technologies because they provide the needed reliability to support to the grid.”