The State of Energy Storage in America – Energy Insights

Energy Insights highlights interesting energy content from around the web.

Previous posts include Demonetizing Everything: A Post Capitalism World and Vaclav Smil on Carbon Capture & Storage.


This Energy Insights posts summarizes a recent episode of the Greentech Media Interchange podcast.  The show discusses the State of Energy Storage in America.  It’s full of interesting insights into what’s going on right now with energy storage.

Below are my notes from the show.


In 2017 the US deployed around 700 MWh of battery storage. This corresponds to around 300 MW. This is a useful ratio to understand – the ratio of capacity to rate of charge/discharge. I think a useful rule of thumb could be around 2:1 (capacity : rate).

Smart meter deployment is sitting at around 50% in the US. Unlocking value of these smart meters requires smarter pricing (i.e. time of use).

Battery storage penetration depends both on technology and regulation. Regulation needs to support cost reflective and variable pricing.

Disappearance of gas peaking plants hurts gas turbine suppliers more than gas suppliers. Peaking units don’t consume a large amount of gas, they do consume a large amount of capital.

Importance of considering total project costs for batteries. Cost of battery storage technology is decreasing faster than balance of plant costs.

The 2016 Southern California Gas company Advanced Energy Storage Impact report notes that commercial energy storage actually increased emissions by 726 tC in 2016. The main reason for this is the misalignment of incentives. The customer demand charges are not aligned with the carbon intensity of the grid.

As an industry we should demand that the upstream supply chains are run without child labour. Cobalt is a material used in battery storage today that involves too much child labour.

Thanks for reading!