STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Utility-scale power generation has moved beyond the tried and true coal-fired, oil-burning, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric stage. Significant amounts of electric power are generated using generally smaller “alternative” sources like wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal. As these smaller power generation approaches proliferate, the problem of off-peak generation becomes important. What to do at night, or when the wind doesn’t blow, or when it blows too hard? Power system designers must begin to investigate ways to store alternative power so that it can be used when needed.
With this in mind, this report measures and examines the emerging market for utility-scale “alternative electric power storage,” including the use of batteries, fuel cells, capacitive storage, and flywheel energy storage. These storage approaches can be deployed using stationary facilities, mobile arrays, and increasingly, smart grids that can combine a variety of approaches (including banks of parked electric vehicles).
REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY
This report also can provide valuable information in terms of assessing investment in specific technologies and, therefore, should benefit investors directly or indirectly. Others may find the broad discussions of energy policy and environmental impact to be of considerable value in understanding the opportunities and problems in the near- to mid-term.
This report is intended to provide a unique analysis of the alternative electrical power storage market and will be of interest to a variety of current and potential alternative energy makers, users, and integrators as well as battery, fuel cell, capacitive energy storage and flywheel energy storage system makers and component makers.
BCC Research wishes to thank those companies, government agencies, and university researchers that contributed information for this report.
SCOPE OF REPORT
As defined by this report, “alternative electrical power storage” includes approaches that use primarily electric and high speed kinetic approaches as opposed to larger scale kinetic approaches like pumped hydro and compressed air. This includes:
- Batteries (including lead-acid, nickel-based, lithium-based, sodium-sulfur, and redox flow systems)
- Fuel cells, which can be powered by hydrogen generated by excess capacity
- Flywheel energy storage, which stores excess energy in a high speed rotating kinetic battery
- Capacitive energy storage, which uses an electronic rather than an electrochemical approach to storing electrical energy.
As defined by this report, “alternative electrical power storage” refers primarily to power generated by means other than coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric (wind, solar, geothermal, and tidal/wave). However, the alternative market is discussed in relation to this established “conventional” market. It should also be noted that many of the energy storage technologies discussed in this report can also be used during conventional power generation for peak shifting.
This report discusses the North American, European, Far Eastern, and Rest-of-World market in terms of units, value, and megawatt capacity. A target market based on optimistic, pessimistic, and consensus alternative energy adoption and power storage potential is provided. This is compared to the conventional power generation target and peak shifting opportunities. The current market is small, mainly limited to pilot projects. By 2016, these pilots will be expanding into commercial implementations. This 2016 market is also characterized in terms of optimistic, pessimistic, and consensus scenarios. Finally, long-term markets prospects (beyond 2021) are discussed in more general terms.
Major utility-scale alternative electrical power companies are listed and characterized, and energy storage systems companies and integrators are profiled in detail.
Note that there is a significant distinction between the term “alternative power” and the more commonly-used term “renewable energy.”
- “Alternative” power is generated using processes beyond commonly-used coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, and hydropower
- “Renewable” energy is generated using processes that do not expend mined or pumped resources -- coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear. However, in addition to all the alternative fuels, “renewable” also includes hydropower.