Battery storage capacity may quadruple in 3 years

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 353 views 

Utility-scale battery storage capacity in the United States is expected to nearly quadruple to 30 gigawatts by the end of 2025, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). As of October, the capacity was 7.8 gigawatts and has grown from a negligible amount before 2020.

A recent EIA survey shows developers and power plant owners expect to be using an additional 1.4 gigawatts of the capacity by the end of this year and to add another 20.8 gigawatts of the capacity from 2023 to 2025.

According to the EIA, battery storage helps to add stability to variable energy sources, such as wind and solar. Because wind and solar are intermittent resources, so they can only provide electricity when the wind blows or when sunshine is available. Batteries address the intermittency issue by storing extra energy produced by wind or solar generators for use later.

The growth of battery storage capacity is outpacing the early growth of utility-scale solar capacity in the United States. In 2010, U.S. solar capacity rose from less than 1 gigawatt to 13.7 gigawatts in 2015. By comparison, battery storage is projected to rise from 1.5 gigawatts in 2020 to 30 gigawatts in 2025.

More than 75% of the 20.8 gigawatts in planned capacity additions are expected to be installed in Texas (7.9 gigawatts) and California (7.6 gigawatts).

A large amount of existing and planned solar and wind capacity is in California and Texas. California has 16.8 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity, more than any other state. Developers expect to add another 7.7 gigawatts between 2023 and 2025. Texas has 10.5 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity, and developers plan to add another 20.4 gigawatts in the state between 2023 and 2025. Texas also has 37.2 gigawatts of wind capacity, more than any other state. Developers plan to add 5.3 gigawatts of wind capacity in Texas over the next three years.

Battery storage projects are becoming larger in capacity as more come online. Before 2020, the largest U.S. battery storage project was 40 megawatts. The 250-megawatt Gateway Energy Storage System in California, which started operating in 2020, marked the beginning of large-scale battery storage installation. The 409-megawatt Manatee Energy Storage in Florida is the largest operating battery storage project in the United States.

Developers have more than 23 large-scale battery projects that are expected to be completed by 2025. They range in capacity from 250 megawatts to 650 megawatts.