Brief

Study: Energy storage will soon replace peaker plants

Dive Brief:

  • Energy storage options will be competitive or cheaper than the majority of simple cycle combustion turbine (CT) peaking plants by 2018, according to new research which predicts advances in battery technology are about to disrupt more expensive generating facilities.
  • Capital expenditures for a four-hour storage peaker will be about $1,390 by 2017, or $348 per (installed) kilowatt-hour of capacity, making it competitive with the high-end of simple cycle CTs, according to a report from the Energy Strategies Group.
  • By 2018 the cheapest commercial-scale storage options will run about $244 per installed kWh of capacity, making it a winner against mid-range CT generation.

Dive Insight:

The price of energy storage is dropping, and Energy Strategies Group (ESG) predicts that the cost will soon displace more expensive simple cycle peaking facilities whose power is only needed sporadically. 

The firm has put out a white paper using ViZn Energy’s 4-hour storage solution as a proxy for the lowest-cost multi-hour storage options being commercialized, and finding that by 2018 costs will run about $974 per kW, "nearly identical to that of a conventional simple cycle peaker," said Chet Lyons, founder of ESG.

That figure means about $244 per installed kWh, and "given the added benefits of installing storage in the distribution network, by 2018 storage will be a winner against the mid-range cost for a simple cycle CT and clearly disruptive compared to higher cost simple cycle CTs," Lyons said in a blog for Renewable Energy World.

The white paper also notes that when energy storage can be located at utility substations and owned, aggregated and controlled by utilities, the benefits are greater.

"By providing energy balancing services at both a regional (transmission) and local (distribution) level with the same storage asset, the locational value and capacity utilization of storage can be much higher compared to CTs interconnected at transmission voltage and operated as a central station resource," the paper determined.

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Filed Under: Technology