Barriers and breakthroughs to a smarter grid.
Brad Roberts is director, power quality products, with S&C Electric Co.
Energy storage holds immense potential to transform our power infrastructure into a more reliable, efficient, and economical system, with increased capacity precisely when and where it’s needed. Often called the “silver bullet” of intelligent electric grids, storage can provide unprecedented control when it comes to balancing power sources and loads, while providing green energy that reduces reliance on fossil fuels. But more progressive regulatory policies and proactive legislation are needed, including more tax credit incentives to offset significant up-front investment costs, in order to accelerate the development and deployment of clean, grid-connected energy storage.
The U.S. energy storage market exceeded $1 billion in 2011 and could surpass the $5 billion mark in 2014, according to a recent KEMA study. This growth is driven heavily by the renewables market, which benefits from storage technologies to integrate wind, solar, and other variable resources into the grid. In a more fertile regulatory and legislative climate, the U.S. energy storage market could swiftly grow into the tens of billions of dollars, particularly as the diverse applications and value of energy storage—beyond renewables integration—are more widely acknowledged and promoted by industry and government.