Utility Energy Storage Strategies

Cost-effective advanced energy storage technologies are providing utilities and grid operators with new tools to improve system reliability and lower costs. However, these systems also present risks as relatively new technologies are integrated into existing networks. Given the complexity surrounding energy storage, utilities around the world are exploring different approaches to working with the related technologies.

Utilities in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific have emerged as the top consumers of energy storage for both large, utility-scale storage systems and smaller, distributed storage systems. In 2014 and 2015, utilities worldwide deployed roughly 124.3 MW of energy storage capacity, accounting for about 23% of all systems deployed during that time period. Currently, utility-owned energy storage systems (ESSs) account for 27% of the global ESS pipeline. Nearly 9,000 MW of new utility-owned energy storage capacity is expected to be deployed by 2020. As a result of their buying power, brand recognition, and ability to drive regulatory change, utilities represent one of the most important drivers for enabling energy storage to truly scale globally.

This Navigant Research report provides an overview of issues facing utilities as they seek to integrate energy storage and the approaches being taken. The study examines the major approaches utilities are using with energy storage, including the investment, virtual power plant (VPP), and product strategies. Specific attention is given to the risks associated with each strategy being explored by utilities. Examples from around the world detail the various approaches being employed to work with the dynamic and valuable new technologies associated with energy storage.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • How are utilities supporting energy storage development in their territory?
  • How do utility approaches to energy storage differ by region?
  • What are the utilities’ main concerns regarding energy storage?
  • How are utilities benefiting from energy storage?
Who needs this report?
  • Electric utility associations
  • Municipal utilities, cooperatives, vertically integrated utilities, and deregulated distribution utilities
  • Energy storage technology firms
  • Energy storage project developers
  • Government agencies
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Market Update

2.1  Strategies

2.2  Investment Strategy

2.2.1     Enel

2.2.2     E.ON

2.2.3     KEPCO

2.2.4     Strategy Risk

2.3  VPP Strategy

2.3.1     PowerStream

2.3.2     Australian Utility Energy Storage Strategies

2.3.2.1  AGL Energy

2.3.2.2  Ergon Energy

2.3.3     Strategy Risk

2.4  Product Strategy

2.4.1     Terna

2.5  Hybrid Strategy

2.5.1     HECO

2.5.2     RWE

2.5.3     SCE

2.5.4     Strategy Risk

3. Conclusions and Recommendations     

List of Charts and Figures

  • Annual Installed Energy Storage Power Capacity, Select Countries: 2015-2025

List of Tables

  • Utility Strategy Comparison

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