Stories That Defined the Global Energy Storage Market in 2017
This year’s activity in energystoragecould easily fill a book.
While a lot of attention was focused on California, a state that has done more to nurture storage than any other region, there was plenty of action in Asia, Europe and Australia.
Tesla focused most of its attention on Australia in the second half of the year; residential storage developers continue to see Germany as the market to watch; and China is emerging as a global electric vehicle behemoth.
To understand just how far energy storage has come in these markets, we compiled a list of the most important stories, with a little help from the GTM Research team.
European energy companies went shopping for storage
When Scottish generator specialist Aggreko bought the German technology and project developer Younicos in July, it marked the latest major acquisition in Europe’s energy storage sector.
Before Aggreko snapped up Younicos, Wärtsilä of Finland bought Greensmith. And Italian utility Enel acquired Demand Energy as part of a grid-edge spending frenzy that also included EnerNOC and eMotorWerks.
Enel’s shopping spree is likely just getting started, and there is every reason to believe other large European energy companies will continue to pick out energy storage targets.
Germany’s behind-the-meter storage market led the world
While it may not have garnered many headlines this year, Germany’s behind-the-meter energy storage market continued to expand at a fair clip.
Spurred by the desire to boost PV self-consumption in the post-feed-in tariff era, the German government body Germany Trade & Invest said homeowners were on track to install 50,000 behind-the-meter storage systems a year by 2020.
“With falling PV system and battery costs, the business case for storage is gathering pace,” it said. “By the end of 2016, somewhere in the region of 50,000 households and commercial operations had already invested in PV battery systems.”
Global battery manufacturing capacity went through the roof
The scale of manufacturing capacity increases announced in 2017 surprised many experts.
Mitalee Gupta, energy storage analyst at GTM Research, said: “In 2017 alone, more than 75 gigawatt-hours of new battery manufacturing has been announced globally, most of which is expected to come online by 2019.”
The 75 gigawatt-hours does not include capacity expansion by Tesla, she noted. Based on this dramatic rate of increase, Bloomberg New Energy Finance last month forecast the global energy storage market will “double six times” from now to 2030.
The world went mad for gigafactories. By June, at least ten new plants had been unveiled across the world. According to an analysis from Wood Mackenzie, global battery production will need to expand threefold by 2035 in order to meet demand for EVs.
Australia looked to storage for grid balancing and reliability
One of the year’s biggest energy storage stories was Tesla’s race to build the largest battery plant in the world within 100 days, after Elon Musk made a bet on Twitter.
Energy storage is becoming an increasingly important feature in Australia as the country struggles to cope with a creaky grid and growing renewable energy penetration.