Challenges Remain in Understanding Energy Storage as an Investment
Big deployment numbers and falling costs won’t automatically translate into project finance for battery projects, the author writes.
Energy storage is a rapidly growing segment of the clean energy sector, and prices are dropping fast. Yet many are still struggling to understand how to value energy storage as an investment.
As a growing number of cities, states and businesses commit to 100 percent clean energy, storage is already playing a pivotal role in determining how they will meet these targets. Wood Mackenzie's latest Global Energy Storage Outlook projects that deployments will grow 13-fold over the next six years, from a 12-gigawatt-hour market in 2018 to a 158-gigawatt-hour market in 2024.
This emerging market represents a huge opportunity. Global investments of $374 billion a year will be needed to upgrade the grid with enough flexibility to account for the variable power generation profiles of renewable technologies like solar and wind. Storage solutions are now a growing part of this energy transition and will represent a $150 billion industry in the U.S. alone by 2023.
However, massive deployment numbers and dropping costs won’t streamline project finance for energy storage in the short term. As a nascent industry, battery storage lacks historical data, requiring investors and lenders to familiarize themselves with its unique qualities.
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