Energy Storage: Crossing the Chasm to Commercialization

Electricity is unlike any other commodity in that it must be consumed the moment it is produced and at any given moment supply must be rebalanced to meet demand. However, energy storage has the potential to change this paradigm. At the grid-scale level, effective storage technology can shift and firm dispatch of energy generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar, defer billion dollar investments in transmission upgrades, as well as provide key grid support services. On the distribution grid, storage can provide voltage support services that enable higher penetrations of residential and commercial solar and electric vehicles in addition to providing backup power for communities and microgrids. Despite the recent bankruptcies of several Lithium Ion battery manufacturers including A123 Systems, investment in the energy storage sector remains strong with several early stage companies such as Ambri (FKA Liquid Metal Battery Corporation), and LightSail having received venture capital funding in the past year. Recent regulatory measures such as FERC 755 have also provided a strong case for investment in storage technologies. Nevertheless, energy storage has been deployed at an incremental pace in the United States. What factors (materials, technology, cost) are holding the industry back? Can the government help, or have we done too much already? For this event, leaders working and studying the industry will dive into successes, failures and the steps which can be taken to expedite the commercialization and deployment of advanced storage technologies.

Originally recorded on February 8, 2013.