Boulder, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 22 November 2011 – International energy storage is poised to reach a turning point with worldwide energy storage capacity projected to rise from 121 megawatts (MW) in 2011 to 12,353 MW in 2021 “’ a 100-fold increase over a 10-year period.

Revealing this, a Pike Research survey released here said that this equated to just over US$122 billion of investment in energy storage projects over the same period.

Pike noted that numerous new technologies, and variations on "old" technologies, such as compressed air and pumped hydro storage, were being demonstrated in countries around the world. To meet the growing opportunity, utilities, grid service providers, and equipment suppliers all around the world were said to be intensifying their efforts in the energy storage arena.

“Traditionally, grid operators have only had access to generation assets, such as natural gas peakers, to balance electricity flows across the grid by adding power to it,” research analyst, Anissa Dehamna said, adding “energy storage provides grid operators with an alternative to traditional grid management, offering a variety of technologies that together are well-suited for up to 17 applications of energy storage.”

Pike said factors currently limiting the growth of the energy storage sector include inflexible electricity market structures, high capital costs for energy storage projects, a disconnection between the owners of assets and the entities which benefit from such projects, and instability in the grid “’ both inherent instabilities and those caused by the integration of new, renewable sources of energy.

Energy storage technologies perform a number of functions that will start to overcome those barriers in the next few years, including the integration of renewable (both solar and wind), arbitrage, peak shifting and load leveling, and the deferral of transmission and distribution upgrades.

Pike Research anticipates that integrating renewables will represent approximately half of the total capacity deployed for long duration energy storage, while load leveling/peak shifting will account for 31% of the total market.

Pike Research’s report, “Energy Storage on the Grid,” includes analysis of key market drivers and barriers for the emerging energy storage market, technology issues, and detailed profiles of 12 key countries.

The study provides global forecasts for the long duration energy storage market, segmented by region, application, and technology, and measured in revenue and megawatts.

The report also identifies the key changes in the energy storage market during the past year and includes analysis on key energy storage projects to date.