Last week, my colleagues Bob Gohn, John Gartner and Kerry-Ann Adamson hosted a webinar on “The Year Ahead in Cleantech: Top Trends for 2012.”. There were several good questions from the audience in that webinar, one of which specifically asked about the energy storage for the grid forecasts for the North American market. I’d like to address this question in this blog post.
Pike Research expects the Smart Energy market to reach nearly $300 billion in revenue in the next year. This includes our entire Smart Energy practice, which comprises a large number of technologies and markets.
This diversity is reflected in energy storage for the grid, or ESG. This area alone includes five technologies and five separate applications. Overall, this market is expected to reach $1.7 billion in revenue in 2012.
More specifically, North America will be a strong market for a number of ESG technologies. The region currently has the most activity in the ESG sector as far as the diversity of technologies is concerned. This factor, paired with the large number of local vendors (and locally held intellectual property in innovative technologies) and the diversity in the supply chain found in the United States, gives North America an advantage over other regions.
Although the North American market will be lucrative, mechanical technologies will dominate most of the market share, followed by a nearly even split between the battery technologies. In the case of compressed air energy storage, the United States has the innovation base and willing project integrators. In the case of lithium ion and flow batteries, the country has a significant number of “next‑generation” developers.
This expertise should serve the market well throughout the forecast period. Now, whether the sodium-sulfur (NaS) battery portion of the market will end up being served by NGK Insulators, another NaS battery vendor, or another technology altogether remains to be seen.