World needs to ramp up battery use, energy storage to meet climate targets — report 

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015

Meeting global demand for vast amounts of carbon-free energy under an international climate accord will require deep investments in energy storage technologies, according to new findings from the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA).

Those findings, published yesterday as part of IRENA’s ongoing “REmap 2030” series, said that to avoid the worse effects of climate change while meeting sustainable development goals, the world must double the amount of clean energy produced today, and by 2030 meet 45 percent of all electricity demand using renewable energy resources.

Yet to bring that much clean power to end users when and where it’s needed, the world’s utilities and grid operators will have to make energy storage “a vital element” of their resource planning and spending programs, including the construction of 150 gigawatts of battery storage and 325 GW of pumped hydro storage, according to the “Renewables and Electricity Storage” technology road map.

“Electricity storage systems are already available today, but their deployment levels are very limited compared to the rapid growth in variable renewable power generation,” the road map states. Moreover, “electricity storage systems should be a broadly deployable asset for enhancing the integration of high shares of [variable renewable energy] generation.”

IRENA, based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is one of the world’s premier organizations working to implement renewable energy solutions to arrest global greenhouse gas emissions and ameliorate the effects of climate change.

“Now is the time to think about integrating large-scale battery storage into the global energy system,” IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said in a statement. “This roadmap is a starting point for all policymakers seeking to integrate greater storage capabilities, which is necessary to ensure the world is ready for the next phase of growth for renewable power systems.”

U.S. storage investments surge in 1st quarter

IRENA identifies five “priority areas” and 14 specific action items for moving energy storage forward.

The priorities include systems analysis to determine the role of energy storage in different settings; the development of storage capacity on islands and in remote areas; on-site storage development in regions with high levels of rooftop solar; and the development of storage for countries and regions with grid infrastructure constraints, and in countries preparing to transition their power sectors from traditional fuels toward renewable fuels.

“The value of this road map is that it brought together policymakers from across the globe with the leading industry experts and academics,” said Janice Lin, a clean energy consultant who co-founded the California Energy storage Alliance in 2009 and is now chairwoman of the Global Energy Storage Alliance. “At every workshop, we were asked to prioritize and refine our assessments. The road map is truly a product of international cooperation.”

Recent data from GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association found that U.S. investment in energy storage is growing, with spending coming from utilities, grid operators and private-sector firms (ClimateWire, May 28). U.S. companies installed 5.8 megawatts of energy storage in the first quarter of 2015, an 18 percent increase from the same quarter in 2014, and are expected to deploy 220 MW of energy storage by the end of the year.