The Economics of Battery Energy Storage, a report from The Rocky Mountain Institute, explores the benefits of multi-use batteries located at customer sites. It’s a hot area: There has been a 600 percent growth in installed battery capacity between the first and second quarters of the year in the United States.
A driver has been the reduction in costs. Lithium-ion cell costs have shrunk from $1,000 per kWh to $300 per kWh. Further declines of 60 percent are expected. The report answers four main questions: What services can batteries provide to the grid? Where on the grid should batteries be deployed? How much benefit can the batteries provide? What challenges exist? The piece describes 13 services batteries can provide in the context of the grid.
Dale Pennington, the Managing Director of Utiliworks Consulting, spoke recently of the issues surrounding use of commercial grade batteries in buildings. These batteries – which could occupy an entire floor – pose significant security and safety challenges, he said.