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With the growth of renewable energy around the world, the need for utilities to capture and store electricity for later use is becoming increasingly important. The demand for energy storage is driven by several trends, including the proliferation of intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, the move toward smart grids, and the rise of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.

While storing electricity was once thought a practical impossibility, a variety of technologies have now emerged to disprove that theory, and the global energy-storage market is poised to grow from $329 million in 2008 to $4.1 billion by 2018, according to a new report from Pike Research.

One major challenge is that, unlike renewable energy, energy storage technologies have historically received very little support in the form of government subsidies and incentives, which has slowed development. This is beginning to change, however, and utilities will be the beneficiaries of significant U.S. government and venture capital investment in advanced batteries for the transportation sector, according to the research.

Pike Research's study, "Energy Storage Technology Markets," analyzes the opportunity for several key technology categories, including advanced batteries, pumped hydro, compressed air, flow batteries and frequency regulation for utility-scale applications. The report assesses energy-storage market drivers, challenges and regulatory/legislative issues, and also provides detailed market forecasts and profiles of key industry players.

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SOURCE: Pike Research

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