IRENA's report titled, 'Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets 2030,' shows that global electricity storage capacity must triple by 2030 to achieve a global energy transition.
Falling costs for battery storage by up to two-thirds will be a main driver of the expansion of electricity storage.
Stationary storage using batteries must increase at least 17-fold.
6 October 2017: Cheap energy storage is a key component for integrating variable renewable energy (VRE) such as wind and solar into electricity grids as a way to transition towards low carbon energy systems. To date, the cost of batteries has often acted as constraint to adding more renewable capacity. A recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) suggests that this is about to change as the cost of stationary electricity storage continues to fall rapidly.
The report titled, ‘Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets 2030,’ provides an in-depth analysis of the role of stationary and mobile electricity storage in energy systems. It argues that, as the share of VRE rises, electricity has to be stored for days or even weeks to balance supply and demand. With appropriate energy storage systems, the share of VRE could be increased to 80% of total electricity supply in many countries, the publication finds.
In order to double the share of renewable energy, total electricity storage capacity, including pumped hydro, batteries, flywheels and other forms of storage would have to triple in energy terms by 2030 from 4.67 TWh in 2017 to 11.89-15.72 TWh in 2030. Using IRENA’s Renewable Energy Roadmap (REmap) scenarios, the analysis projects that pumped hydro storage could increase by 1.56 to 2.34 TWh above 2017 levels. At the same time, the use of batteries in stationary storage systems would have to increase more than 17-fold compared to today’s estimated levels of 11 GWh to a range of 181 to 421 GWh. Decreasing prices for utility and residential storage solutions could drive such a rapid expansion of battery storage.
On cost reductions, the study shows that the total installed cost of Lithium-ion batteries has fallen by 73% between 2010 and 2016, estimating that such costs could fall by an additional 54-61% by 2030. In contrast to mature types of storage, such as pumped hydro, lithium-ion batteries therefore offer the greatest potential in cost reductions. Other types of storage, including flow batteries and other types of batteries could also drop by two thirds, whereas the cost of storage using flywheels could drop by 35%.
Overall, the report provides an optimistic outlook for electricity storage and the energy transition, finding, among other conclusions, that material availability for battery construction is unlikely to be a constraint, and that economic opportunity will be a sufficient driver to install storage capacity beyond the level needed for grid stability. [IRENA Press Release][Report Abstract][Publication: Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets 2030]