The stationary energy storage market is growing very fast, with daily news of large installations announced at both sides of the power grid: Front-of-Meter and Behind-the-Meter.

The way to produce electricity is changing; a growing amount of renewable energy is installed every day and this has a strong impact on the electricity grid and more in general on the electricity market.

The large adoption of these energy storage devices depends not only on the status of the power grid but also on the penetration of variable renewable energy.

Schematic representation of the electricity grid, showing the separation of front-of-meter and behind-the-meter. Source: IDTechEx

Even though it is growing very fast, with a tens of billion market size expected for 2031 and largely dominated by Li-ion batteries, the stationary storage market is still in its early stages, as highlighted in the IDTechEx report “Batteries for Stationary Energy Storage 2021-2031”.

The report provides a wide overview of the stationary storage market, highlighting the different approaches taken by different countries.

Battery for Stationary Energy Storage – Market Value. Source: IDTechEx

One of the messages of the report is that every country has its own approach toward the necessary adoption of energy storage systems, which could be in focusing on the behind-the-meter applications, or developing large battery storage systems, as is happening in California. California is one of the leading states in both the US and the world for renewable energy installed and battery installations. Most of the battery and tech-related companies are actually based in California.

Only in 2020 have projects been announced for the next few years for about 5GWh of energy stored. Although the large majority of these installations are Li-ion batteries, other technologies are also approaching the market.

Below is a list of the technologies that will reach commercialization next.

  • Redox Flow Battery: The Redox Flow Battery, or RFB, is an electrochemical secondary battery base on the two electroactive species dissolved in liquids electrolytes, which are circulated from a reservoir (tank) to the electrochemical reactors (stack), and back to the reservoir by means of pumps.
RFB decoupled power and energy capacity. Source: IDTechEx

The main characteristics of the flow batteries are:

  • Decoupled Energy/Power capacity
  • Long lifetime

These two characteristics make the RFB well suited to store a large amount of energy, far above the 4h of storage. RFB companies are targeting the 6h to 12h hours of storage systems. If the stationary energy storage market is still in its early stage, the redox flow batteries are a step behind. The technology is currently at the front door of the ES market, ready for large installations. IDTechEx has closely followed this technology and its development over the last few years. In the recently published report “Redox Flow Battery 2021-2031” the company has analyzed the future adoption of these systems, showing their possible fast growth over the next decade, and the possibility they may overtake the LiB systems in terms of energy capacity installed.

  • Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES): Long duration energy storage systems, analyzed by IDTechEx in the report “Stationary Energy Storage Without Batteries: Grid, Microgrid, UPS, Trackside 2021-2041”, are devices able to store large amounts of energy for a duration that ranges from tens of hours to days. These systems are generally based on a simple working principle, such as lifting a weight (Gravitational Energy Storage), or pumping water uphill (Pumped Hydro Energy Storage). Although these systems might find larger applications toward the end of 2030, when a larger renewable energy amount will be installed, up to date the application of these devices is still quite limited. The main reason is because of their small market, due to their reduced application, but soon some of these systems (like compressed air energy storage (CAES), liquified air energy storage (LAES) and potentially also the gravitational energy storage systems (GES)) might start to face larger adoption.
Potential stationary energy storage by time and power. Source: IDTechEx report, “Stationary Energy Storage Without Batteries: Grid, Microgrid, UPS, Trackside 2021-2041” Source: IDTechEx

In conclusion, the stationary storage market is evolving with increasing differentiation from an hours of storage point of view and application BTM and FTM. Overall, the market will still be driven by two main factors: the penetration of VRE and the flexibility of the power grid.