IRENA: Battery storage capacity tipped to grow 17-fold by 2030 as costs plummet

09 October 2017 | Mitigation

International Renewable Energy Agency estimates costs of stationary battery storage could drop 66 per cent by 2030, as EV development accelerates

Rapid reductions in stationary battery storage development costs could lead to a 17-fold growth in installed capacity worldwide by 2030, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

A report last week by the Agency estimates development costs associated with stationary battery storage applications could plunge 66 per cent by 2030, potentially helping to push installed global battery storage capacity from just 2GW today to around 175GW - a level that would see it rival global pumped hydro storage capacity.

Battery storage is seen as a key solution for balancing electricity grids as more intermittent sources of renewable power come online, with batteries increasingly used to store excess energy produced at peak times of generation for use when demand peaks or when conditions are not as windy or sunny.

IRENA's report - Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030 - seeks to assess the use of non-EV battery storage over the next decade or more, concluding that its capacity could triple if countries around the world double their share of renewables on the electricity system.

Pumped-hydro systems currently dominate the energy storage sector, accounting for 96 per cent of the total installed electricity storage capacity globally. But economies of scale and technology breakthroughs are expected to support the accelerated development and adoption of alternative storage technologies, such as lithium-ion and flow batteries, IRENA argues.

IRENA director-general, Adnan Amin, said the sector was poised for rapid expansion. "As storage technology improves and prices decline, both utility-scale and small-scale, distributed applications could grow dramatically, accelerating renewable energy deployment," he said. "This research demonstrates that the business case for renewable energy continues to strengthen, positioning it firmly as a low-cost and secure source of energy supply."

Stationary electricity storage can directly drive decarbonisation in other key areas, the report adds, such as in the transport sector via electric vehicles.

From 2010 to the end of 2016, the cost of lithium-ion batteries fell by as much as 73 per cent for transport applications, according to IRENA. And, while lithium-ion batteries in stationary applications have a higher installed cost than those used in EVs, the report found that in Germany small-scale battery system installation costs fell by 60 per cent between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2017.

By 2030, the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries could also increase by 50 per cent, while the number of full cycles possible could potentially increase by as much as 90 per cent, the report adds.

Meanwhile, other technologies such as 'sodium sulphur' and 'flow' batteries are tipped to see their costs decline by up to 60 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively.

Report author Dolf Gielen, director of the IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre, said the rapid rise of plug-in electric vehicles would help drive down the costs of batteries over the next 10-15 years, while also opening up opportuntiies for cars to provide vehicle-to-grid balancing services.

"Storage technology will deliver service flexibility to the grid and electricity storage to small-scale rooftop solar applications in markets where commercial and residential electricity rates are high, and grid feed-in remuneration is declining," Gielen said.



Source: Business Green