Energy Storage Options and Their Environmental Impact
Business Opportunities and the Regulatory Framework
Published:18 Oct 2018
Special Collection: 2018 ebook collection , ECCC Environmental eBooks 1968-2022
R. Madlener and J. M. Specht, in Energy Storage Options and Their Environmental Impact, ed. R. E. Hester and R. M. Harrison, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018, pp. 296-326.
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This chapter focuses on existing and emerging business opportunities and the role of regulatory frameworks for energy storage. First, an overview is provided of the technoeconomic characteristics of the most relevant energy storage options available in the market today, highlighting the complementarity and competition among these technologies and the increasingly important role of energy storage in the globally ongoing sustainable energy transition. Second, the manifold, but sometimes mutually exclusive, value-creating potentials of energy storage units are pointed out. Third, some of the major barriers to the wider adoption and diffusion of storage technologies that go beyond economic viability and cost competitiveness (both between the different energy storage alternatives and, one level above, between the various flexibility options competing with each other) are discussed. The numerous uncertainties related to the growth of variable renewable energy as part of the sustainable energy transition in this rapidly evolving field are also discussed. Decision makers in the energy storage business are well advised to study carefully the market and regulatory conditions and also underlying uncertainties, as business models may erode over time, thus jeopardizing the anticipated desired return on investment. In light of the potentially disruptive nature of some energy storage technologies, such as those installed in e-cars and homes, i.e. distributed ones where millions of units may be adopted quickly, especially investors in large-scale and long-lived storage solutions must be cautious. Finally, the issue that energy storage is only one among a number of flexibility options to balance supply and demand in an intertemporal and/or spatial manner, and not necessarily the least-cost option, is discussed.