April 09, 2020

Electrochemical energy storage – A key renewable power enabler

Electrochemical Energy Storage

Electrochemical Energy Storage – Major Capacity Additions

Current large-scale electrochemical energy storage (EES) is based on battery technologies that are modular in design and allow for a wide range of end-use applications, which include front-of-the meter (FTM) and behind-the-meter (BTM) energy dispatch scenarios. Other, largely mechanical or physical technologies have pros and cons and ranges of applicability in contrast to EES.  

Major EES capacity additions are expected to be paired with intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaics and wind power as EES increases the dispatchability of large-scale renewable power sources.  Further, large-scale EES is becoming competitive with open-cycle gas turbines operating in the peaking mode of service operations.  Also, EES allows revenue stacking from energy arbitrage and ancillary services offered to the grid. 

Presently, EES is a technically and commercially viable alternative to captive or “inside-the-fence” power generators, for process plants, as well as for many commercial and industrial facilities (C&I) as it leads to higher reliability, availability, maintainability and overall utilization of the energy system assets and infrastructure.  Incorporation of EES in FTM and BTM applications enables proper optimization of existing and planned generation, transmission, and distribution capacity and infrastructure – Resulting in the mitigation of risks related to designing and building of overcapacity while yielding higher average revenues.


Electrochemical Energy Storage


Innovation and Market Share

Based on technological innovation and increased market share, large-scale EES systems’ capital costs and operating costs continue to decline. Commercial installations have tripled in less than three years, mainly using lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries that are primarily aimed at providing short-term energy storage, which presently accounts for nearly 80 percent of all EES capacity.  Besides Li-Ion, current EES technologies include lead acid, sodium sulfur, sodium nickel chloride, and flow batteries (e.g. vanadium redox, iron, and zinc bromide).  Specifically for BTM end-use applications requiring longer storage durations, other technically and commercially viable battery types, including sodium sulfur and in particular flow batteries, are attracting increased capital investment.

Nexant Focus on Energy Storage

Nexant is preparing a new multiclient report, “Electrochemical Energy Storage”, as part of Nexant Subscriptions’ Technoeconomics – Energy & Chemicals (TECH) program.  The TECH report’s main focus will be on a detailed evaluation and assessment of large-scale EES-based battery technologies along with viable pathways and roadmaps to wider use.  Specific commercially viable technologies and end-use applications will be covered with priority on BTM/non-dispatchable energy versus FTM/dispatchable energy.  A global market perspective, coverage, trends, and outlook will be provided.  Costs and techno-economics will primarily focus on the various commercially viable EES technologies on the basis of levelized cost of electricity and levelized cost of storage.  In addition, specific end-customer case studies for large-scale EES covering process plants and C&I facilities will be provided. 

The Technoeconomics – Energy & Chemicals (TECH) program has been globally recognized for over 40 years as the industry standard source of process evaluations of existing, new/emerging, and embryonic technologies of interest to the energy and chemical industries.  TECH’s comprehensive studies include detailed technology analyses, process economics, as well as commercial overviews and industry trends.  For additional details, refer to

The Authors

Ron Cascone – Principal, Nexant

Pat Sonti – Senior Consultant, Nexant

Adam Chan – Senior Consultant, Nexant

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