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Energy Storage Outlook for 2022

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Karen Marcus's picture
Freelance Energy and Technology Researcher and Writer Final Draft Communications, LLC

In addition to serving as an Energy Central Community Manager, Karen Marcus has 25 years of experience as a content developer within the energy and technology industries. She has worked with...

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According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), “Energy storage has the potential to accelerate full decarbonization of the electric grid.” That’s why it announced in September that it would provide $17.9 million in funding for “four research and development projects to scale up American manufacturing of flow battery and long-duration storage systems.” In addition, the DOE has launched a new $9 million effort, the Energy Storage for Social Equity Initiative, to assist underserved communities in leveraging energy storage to increase resilience and lower energy burdens.

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These investments reflect the increasing importance of energy storage for the coming years. This technology will be needed to pursue a renewable energy future and meet aggressive net-zero emissions targets, such as the Biden administration’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. In particular, “longer duration storage technologies — like flow batteries — are needed as more renewables are deployed on the grid,” according to the DOE.

For these reasons, it’s clear that storage development is becoming more critical. Here are some additional factors contributing to the rise of energy storage and, in particular, what we’re likely to see in 2022.  

More Solar and Wind

CNBC writes about an S&P Global Market Intelligence report that shows, “U.S. solar and wind deployments are on track to hit new records in 2022 as momentum behind the energy transition grows.” The report states that as much as 44 gigawatts of utility-scale solar (nearly double the amount of estimated new solar for 2021), and 27 gigawatts of wind (far beyond the annual record or 16 gigawatts, set in 2020) will come online in 2022.

The expansion of state-level renewable requirements, expected extension of tax credits for the industry, and demand from corporations are driving the upswing in wind and solar power. In turn, that increase is driving the need for energy storage. “S&P expects 8 gigawatts of storage to be installed in 2022,” states CNBC.

Variety of Technologies

In a previous Energy Central article, I wrote the following descriptions of current types of battery storage. These technologies and others will continue to be developed throughout 2022.  

  • Lithium-ion batteries. This type of battery was initially used for small electronics, such as computers and phones. Larger cells have been developed for use in EVs and in grid-scale energy-storage deployments. Storage capacity for this type of battery is only a few hours.
  • Thermal storage. To include energy storage in the wider initiative to move toward renewable energy sources, operators must be able to store energy for longer periods of time. Thermal storage is an emerging technology, involving the storage of energy as liquid air, that can provide a longer-duration solution.
  • Mechanical storage. Mechanical storage systems use kinetic forces to store energy. One example is flywheel storage, which stores rotational energy. Like other types of storage, a flywheel can capture intermittent energy sources and deliver [them] back when needed.
  • Pumped hydroelectric. Pumped hydroelectricity energy storage involves storing energy in the form of water pumped from a lower elevation to a higher one when electricity is less expensive, then allowed to fall during higher-cost periods.

Growth of the EV Market

The expected growth in 2022 of the electric vehicle (EV) market will represent another push toward the increase of battery storage use, as I described in another recent Energy Central article: “In the process known as bi-directional charging or vehicle to grid (V2G), EVs plugged into homes or businesses can provide power to the structure or give back to the grid…. The EV battery operates as a home battery, storing energy it gets when charging. Ideally, charging of the EV takes place during off-peak hours when electric rates are at their lowest. Then, during peak times, the direction of the charging switches, and power is diverted from the EV to the home or business, helping to offset peak loads. Depending on how the setup is arranged, power can also go directly to the grid.”

Many of these factors have been in the works but should make an even greater impact in the coming year and beyond.

How is your utility using battery storage now? How will that change in 2022? Please share in the comments.

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