Industry headlines and stats, the approval of US president Barack Obama and even the growing popularity of electric rickshaws have been used to drive home the message that energy storage is a technology for today, not some distant future.
The ‘Twittersphere’ has responded to a call to arms from the US Energy Storage Association, tweeting with the hashtag #StorageIsHere, in a social media campaign which officially ran from 28 March to 1 April but which still appears to be ongoing. The association invited companies from around the world to join in, although as might be expected there was an emphasis on the US market.
Technology ranging from Ice Energy’s utility-dispatchable “Ice Bears” thermal residential storage, wind-integrated utility-scale battery storage owned by utility Duke Energy and solar micro-grids created by the US Army in partnership with Sandia National Labs were among the projects and case studies shared online.
There was also recognition of the symbiotic nature of the electricity sector and growing electric vehicle space, India Energy Storage Alliance’s executive director Rahul Walawalkar (a regular Guest Blogger for this site) even highlighted the growing popularity of e-rickshaws in his home country.
A promotional video from ESA to accompany the campaign pinpointed recent statistics released by the association in partnership with GTM Research, which demonstrates the rapid growth of storage in the US, driven in part by California’s mandate to utilities to deploy more than a gigawatt of storage by 2020 and by transmission operator PJM’s market for grid-balancing frequency regulation.
ESA quoted that 489MW of storage is online in the US, while the GTM report showed around 221MW of that to have been deployed last year alone. The industry has seen a rapid rise from 2013 and 2014 when 46MW and 65MW was installed respectively, while costs have fallen 70% in the past eight years.
Projects such as AES’ 10MW Kilroot facility in Northern Ireland, Canada’s first-ever ‘virtual power plant’, launched just a few weeks ago and intelligent commercial storage provider Stem’s 90MW over 200 installations were also highlighted by the companies behind them. Additionally, pictures of Barack Obama’s recent visit to Saft, when the US president highlighted the growth in clean energy jobs, both current and potential, were duly retweeted.