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Navigant Research: Standardised contracts to take hold in 2016 as utilities embrace energy storage

Utilities will “embrace energy storage” this year, while the development of standardised contracts and aggregated behind-the-meter storage are expected to take the energy storage world by storm, according to Navigant Research.

The US-based research and analysis firm has just published a whitepaper, Five trends in energy storage in 2016 and beyond. In it, Navigant confirms that energy storage both behind and in front of the meter will continue to be driven towards higher levels of deployment by a number of factors.

These include the need to add more variable renewable energy sources to networks and to add resilience and energy security in areas where weak or non-existent grids mean that populations are vulnerable to extreme weather events or technical problems which can cause outages.

The report also predicts that energy storage-enabled virtual power plants (VPPs) are expected to grow within various energy markets — standing as highly networked systems and forerunners to a functional Energy Cloud.

Navigant Research also noted that it expects the energy storage market to utilise the lessons learned from distributed solar in an effort to quickly standardise how energy storage system components should be built and how they should operate on the grid. According to the report, this will allow project developers and ESS hardware and software supplies to use traditional lean manufacturing concepts in order to cut down on project costs.

Anissa Dehamna, principal research analyst with Navigant Research, noted: “The energy storage industry began to noticeably scale in 2015. Looking to 2016 and beyond, it is expected that the energy storage industry will resolve persistent issues such as standardized contracts and modular system design, embrace new business models such as residential storage and virtual power plants, and begin to see pressure and interest from the IT space.”

Advances in technology and market development will go hand in hand. Image: Greensmith.

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