Grid-scale energy storage system prices have to come down, not just the cost of the actual storage components. At the same time, the value of storage has to be redefined in the energy landscape, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The report is a summation of the storage landscape, both technical and regulatory, and outlines what many in the industry already know. But it also offers some clear indications of where the DOE would like to see support from Congress.
The most interesting aspect of the report is that it was presented on Thursday to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee after being commissioned by committee chairman, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). Whether the report can interest the committee in any way to help push storage forward is unclear.
“This is a pivotal time for the storage community, and this report could not have been more timely,” Darrell Hayslip, chairman of the Electricity Storage Association, said in a statement.
The DOE defined four major challenges to the widespread adoption of energy storage: the development of cost-effective energy storage technologies, validated reliability and safety, an equitable regulatory environment, and industry acceptance.
In terms of cost-effectiveness, the DOE focused on the need for cheaper systems, not just cheaper components. “The storage component still constitutes only 30% to 40% of the total system cost, thus the focus needs to be on the entire system,” the study finds.
The report goes on to outline the various uses for storage, beyond just saving power until it is needed later. Other ways in which storage provides value include spinning and non-spinning reserves, ramping support for renewables, distribution upgrade deferral and voltage support, and customer-side meter storage.