Grid Batteries Set to be Bigger than Pumped Hydro in 10 Years – #ChooseStorage

By John Zahurancik, VP of Commercial Development

Posted on September 18, 2014

Can advanced grid storage be a meaningful grid resource? Leaders in California think so and have acted on this view with their directive to secure 1325MW of storage within the next six years. Utility experts and leaders in Hawaii, New York, Ontario, Italy, Chile and other markets are also seeking the fast and flexible power provided by energy storage resources.

The action taken by these markets is supported by the fact that the manufacturing capability for grid-ready batteries exists today to meet these needs. Building on their strong track record, over the next ten years grid-ready battery manufacturers have the capability to deliver 130GW of grid resources - that is more than the total installed capacity of pumped hydro power worldwide.  This supply chain comes, not from Silicon Valley startups, but from names we all know like LG and Panasonic.


Beyond having the necessary supply chain for scale, energy storage also has a competitive advantage over other power sources when it comes to permitting and deploying this resource. With no air emissions, no waste stream, and no fuel supply requirements, typical permitting and construction can occur in a year, while a fossil power plant might take 3-5 years or longer to do the same.  Energy storage resources can also be installed in locations near the load they serve, locations that provide the greatest benefit. Very few peaking power plants could offer the same benefit.

The scale of advanced grid storage installations is already changing. Six or seven years ago, the leading companies were installing 1-2MW energy storage systems on the power grid as demonstrations. Recent commercial energy storage projects are tens of MWs in scale, with larger storage systems now in operation that are above 50MW, roughly the size of traditional peakers. Today, new advanced battery based energy storage projects in development in leading markets based on solutions like AES Advancion™, are several hundred MWs each, capable of delivering power equivalent to mid- to large generating plants.

Is energy storage scalable?  Yes, it has the capacity to be scaled and become a meaningful grid resource. Another reason more and more utility experts and government leaders around the globe are smart to Choose Storage.