Global sales of utility-scale electricity storage (UES) technology will grow at a 36.6% compound annual rate (CAGR) over the next five years, from $3.9 billion in 2010 to $18.5 billion in 2015, as the drive to incorporate renewable power supplies into grids and build outs of transmission interconnections and smart grids accelerates, according to a BCC Research forecast.

Sales of UES technology will grow fastest in North America, BCC forecasts, increasing at a CAGR of 86.2%. UES sales in Europe will grow at a 41% CAGR, while sales in Asia/Australia will grow at a 21.7% CAGR.

Come 2015, according to BCC:

•UES sales in Asia/Australia, valued at $2.7 billion in 2010, will total nearly $7.2 billion;
•UES sales in Europe will increase from nearly $1 billion to $5.3 billion;
•UES sales in North America will increase from $272 million to $6.1 billion.

Utilities are investing heavily in developing innovative large-scale electricity storage systems as global demand for electricity is expected to rise for at least the next two decades, with renewable energy sources expected to supply a much higher percentage of total generating capacity. Government and international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other environmental pollutants, such as mercury and heavy metals, are also spurring investment.

The resulting need to store electricity, both at utility and smaller scales, balance electricity demand and supply from intermittent clean and renewable sources, such as wind and solar, and modulate frequency and voltage, is driving innovation in the field.

One recent example of the innovations being commercialized is Beacon Power’s recently commissioned, 20-megawatt (MW) Flywheel Energy Storage System (FESS), which will shore up New York’s electricity grid by providing fast response frequency regulation.

“Our Stephentown project is under budget and performing extremely well, proving that Beacon’s flywheel technology can deliver an essential grid reliability service while reducing the need for fossil fuel-based regulation resources and cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” Judith Judson, Beacon Power vice president of asset management and market development, commented.

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