(PRWEB) March 19, 2013
Follow us on LinkedIn – Over the past decade, there has been significant focus on minimizing carbon emissions. This has led to higher emphasis on identifying environmentally friendly energy sources like nuclear, solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, biofuels, and tide/ocean energy. Also, unlike earlier when oil and gas reserves were considered to be infinite, the new realization of the finite limits of petroleum and hydrocarbon supplies is throwing the focus on renewable energy. Currently, technological advancements, rise in oil prices, and favorable policies on carbon emission implemented by leading energy-consuming nations, represent factors that are sharpening the focus on renewable energy.
The Achilles heel of renewable energy to date has been storage. Renewable energy through adequate storage can facilitate utilities in integrating this energy into power grids as supplement energy to meet peak demand. Contribution of energy generated from renewable sources still remains low, largely because of the wide gaps in technology know-how to harness and tap into wind and solar energy even on cloudy and windless days. Renewable energy is variable and the key towards expanding the role of renewable electricity generation is to store the generated energy. The stability and reliability of an electricity grid, dependent largely on variable renewable resources, hinges on the effectiveness of energy storage.
The envisioned future of “smart grid” requires efficient and in-expensive energy storage. For baseload renewable energy plants capable of continuously providing large constant electricity to become a reality, storage remains critical. Currently, all primary baseload power plants are either coal fired or nuclear. Developments in renewable energy storage flaunt the potential to tilt the energy balance in favor of alternate energy resources, which to date has been hampered by reliability issues triggered by their intermittent and variable output characteristics.
Until recently, focus was on the generation of renewable energy. Going forwards, the future of these alternative energy sources lies in technology breakthroughs in energy storage. Heavy government subsidies and investments in generation equipment like wind turbines and photovoltaics (PV) solar panels have helped reduce the price of renewable energy and aided in the proliferation of hundreds of renewable projects around the world. However, the real benefit of these energy sources lies in its ability to provide greater flexibility in managing electrical grids. Improvements in the capacity factor, defined as the ratio of actual energy produced in a power plant to its nameplate capacity, will drive renewable utility grids to mainstream in the future. The capacity factor determines the feasibility of a power plant and for a plant to function as a baseload power plant, higher capacity factor is a critical requirement.
The growing adoption of solar microgrids is forecast to spur demand for energy storage. The grid modernization trend underway in most countries worldwide has aided in the adoption and deployment of intelligent microgrids. This in turn is expected to encourage demand for effective renewable energy storage solutions as “energy storage” forms a vital part of microgrids. Defined as autonomous grids, microgrids are designed to provide energy on-demand, especially to non-grid-connected communities. Microgrids are also rising in popularity given their ability to eliminate expensive installations of energy transmission lines. Other key factors cited for the growing popularity of solar microgrids include growing need for reliable electricity, increasing pressure on conventional energy infrastructure and increasing focus on on-site generation and storage.
In addition, growth will also be driven by the increasing deployment of smart grids. The bi-directional movement of the energy value chain as a result of growing decentralized energy generation is leading to the development of smart grids. Specifically, the need for utmost efficiency in effective distribution of electricity is encouraging widespread adoption of smart grids. Increasing penetration of renewable sources of energy and the ensuing necessity to control power loads is also driving smart grid installations. As a critical part of smart grids, energy storage technologies help the grid to rapidly respond to variations in load/supply thus reducing the risk of outages that directly expands the ability of these grids to accommodate and integrate renewable energy sources. Other advantages include ability to meet demand increases, provide higher quality power, and extend frequency control to the grid.
With the US government having missed its deadline to avert budget sequestration, across-the-board cuts have now been legislated. Against the backdrop of reduced federal government discretionary spending, renewable energy and the energy storage sector in particular, is expected to come under the financial crunch. Given the parallel need for developing both renewable energy and energy storage to achieve slated renewable energy goals, changes in the DOE’s funding priority has the potential to impact both in equal measure. Cuts to the government’s investments in renewable energy and reductions in grants to fund scientific innovation will directly impact R&D in the energy storage sector. As an industry that requires the intervention of the government in propelling projects beyond the R&D stage, the sequestration cuts are casting a long shadow of worry over energy storage technologies.
As stated by the new market research report on Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Storage, Europe and the US together represent the largest markets worldwide. The US represents the fastest growing regional market with a projected CAGR of 40% over the analysis period.
Major players in the market include A123 Systems LLC, Altair Nanotechnologies Inc., Axion Power International Inc., Beacon Power LLC, Encell Technology Inc., General Compression Inc., NGK Insulators Ltd., Saft Groupe S.A. and ZBB Energy Corporation, among others.
The research report titled “Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Storage: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts Inc., provides a comprehensive review of market trends, company profiles, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. The report provides market estimates and projections in US$ for major geographic markets including the US, Europe and Rest of World.
For more details about this comprehensive market research report, please visit –
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