Grid Scale, Hydropower, Solar, Storage

Alternative energy sources need alternative energy storage

Alternative energy storage — batteries, flywheels, fuel cells and more — are rising to meet the challenge of utility-scale intermittent energy production. BCC Research finds that energy storage technologies might hit a 5.4% CAGR 2011-2016.

January 3, 2012 — BCC Research released “Electrical Power Storage Technologies for Alternative Energy Sources,” covering the emerging market for utility-scale alternative electric power storage: batteries, fuel cells, capacitive storage, and flywheel energy storage. The report includes forecasts through 2016.

The global alternative electrical power storage market in 2011 was worth more than $325 million, including more than $236 million worth of electrochemical batteries. This market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4% between 2011 and 2016 under a consensus scenario resulting in a $423 million global market in 2016, including $322 million worth of electrochemical batteries.

BCC Research estimates a $175 million wind power market and a $147 million solar power market in 2011 under a consensus scenario. An optimistic scenario could see a wind power market worth more than $240 million by 2016, reflecting a 7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

2011 saw a rise in fuel cell systems, a sector estimated at $25 million in 2011. Fuel cells could grow to $44 million at a 12% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in 2016.

Utility-scale power generation has moved beyond coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric sources. Smaller alternative sources — wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal — are generating significant wattage, making off-peak generation important. Wind and solar are intermittent power sources that power system designers must find ways to store for on-demand use, BCC Research reports.

The study measures and examines utility-scale alternative electric power storage, deployed using stationary facilities, mobile arrays, and increasingly by smart grids that can combine a variety of approaches.

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