Cost of battery storage for stationary applications predicted to fall dramatically

The cost of battery storage for stationary applications could fall by up to 66% by 2030, according to a new report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

IRENA’s report ‘Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030’ finds that the falling price of batteries could stimulate 17-fold growth of installed battery storage, opening up a number of new commercial and economic opportunities. It also finds that global storage capacity could triple if countries double the share of renewables in the energy system.

“As storage technology improves and prices decline, both utility scale and small scale, distributed applications could grow dramatically, accelerating renewable energy deployment,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z Amin.

“In this dynamic, low-carbon energy environment, now is a crucial time for storage technology.”

The report highlights that while pumped-hydro systems currently dominate total installed power storage capacity, with 96% of the installed electricity storage power globally, economies of scale and technology breakthroughs will support the accelerated development and adoption of alternative storage technologies, such as lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and flow batteries.

Stationary electricity storage can directly drive rapid decarbonisation in other key segments of energy use, such as the transport sector, where the viability of battery storage for electric vehicles (EVs) is improving fast. And while Li-ion batteries in stationary applications have a higher installed cost than those used in EVs, in Germany, small-scale Li-ion battery systems have seen their total installed costs fall by 60% between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2017.

“The growth of lithium-ion battery use in electric vehicles and across the transport sector over the next 10 to 15 years is an important synergy that will help drive down battery costs for stationary storage applications,” said Dolf Gielen, director of the IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre and an author of the report.

“The trend towards electrified mobility will also open up opportunities for electric vehicles to provide vehicle-to-grid services.

“Storage technology will deliver service flexibility to the grid and electricity storage to small-scale rooftop solar applications in markets where commercial and residential electricity rates are high and grid feed-in remuneration is declining.”

By 2030, the calendar life of Li-ion batteries could increase by approximately 50%, while the number of full cycles possible could potentially increase by as much as 90%.

Other battery storage technologies also offer large cost reduction potential. High-temperature ‘sodium sulfur’ batteries could see their costs decline by up to 60%, while the total installed cost of flow batteries could potentially fall by two-thirds by 2030. Although they are subject to higher up-front costs compared to other technologies, flow batteries often exceed 10,000 full cycles, balancing the costs with very high lifetime energy throughputs.

The full report can be accessed on the IRENA website.

Subscribe to The Environment Report