N. America, Asia Named Government-Backed Energy Storage Hot Spots

NavigantGovernment investments in energy storage and related areas, such as the smart grid, continue to bear fruit, particularly in the North American and Asian markets, according to a report from Navigant Research.

While Asian economies are moving toward advanced battery technologies, with the intention of developing export industries, the North American market, meanwhile, is characterized by a policy of funding innovation and, consequently, remains the most technologically diverse region in the industry, according to Energy Storage Tracker 3Q13. Meanwhile, European economies are focusing on integrating renewables at both the bulk and the distributed level, Navigant says.

Another key development in the energy storage market is the increasing specialization and repositioning of firms in the supply chain. Some technology vendors have repositioned themselves as systems integrators, and in some cases, integrators are entering the sector from other industries. This is a critical time for the advanced energy storage industry – in order for the industry to mature and scale up, more systems integrators are needed, Navigant says.

The top three energy storage technology vendors account for 48 percent of the measurable market, the report says.

Navigant Research was able to compile technology vendor market share data for 61,732 MW of installations, which represents 37 percent of the overall market.

Alstom controls 19 percent of the market, Voith controls 16 percent and Gridflex controls 13 percent of the market. The remaining 52 percent of the market measured by Navigant is controlled by 12 different vendors.

The total number of energy storage projects worldwide – including announced, funded, under construction, and operating facilities- reached 714 in the last quarter of 2012, according to a tracker report from Pike Research in December.

Energy storage projects are increasing steadily, both in terms of the project pipeline and the number of projects deployed and operating. Two factors are influencing that expansion: first, demand for energy storage is increasing as utilities learn more about energy storage technologies and become less risk averse, and second, as the economic outlook brightens, companies are more willing to invest the capital frequently required for energy storage, according to Pike.

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