Report reveals risk for energy storage technologies in US

A new report shows emerging energy storage technologies in the US may face challenges as utilities stick to tried-and-tested technologies. Photo credit: Discovery Cube OC science centre, site of a Southern California Edison energy storage project using lithium-ion battery technology, Edison International

Emerging energy storage technologies in the US may face challenges as utilities stick to older technologies. Photo: Discovery Cube OC science centre, site of a Southern California Edison energy storage project, Edison International

A new report is expected to show emerging energy storage technologies may face commercialisation challenges as utilities stick to tried-and-tested technologies from reputable vendors.

Early indications are that US power companies are shunning innovative technologies and early-stage developers in favour of tried-and-tested equipment from major suppliers, according to the report from Energy Storage Update.

One source quoted in the report says around 60% of the storage currently being considered for installation across Californian utilities is likely to be in the form of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

The balance will probably be small-scale hydro, natural gas compression, liquid air storage and flywheels.

Another source, from Southern California Edison, indicated that the company’s energy storage testing programme was all using lithium-ion batteries.

Elsewhere, utility respondents also expressed a clear preference for industry-leading suppliers such as Sharp, LG Chem and Panasonic. “Big companies like ours only like to deal with more established companies, with actual balance sheets,” said one.
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