The energy storage market will undoubtedly grow into a giant global industry, but in its recent report, Grid-Scale Energy Storage Opportunities in North America: Applications, Technologies, Suppliers, and Business Strategies, GTM Research notes that many applications are not set up to succeed in the current market.

Most grid-scale energy storage applications lack the right mix of regulatory support, costs, revenues and other attributes to be economically viable opportunities. It’s not all gloom and doom, however; GTM Research is optimistic about the sector's short- and long-term prospects. Applications such as transmission and distribution deferral and substitution, renewable integration, and building energy management represent a sizable, accessible market and will generate an attractive return on investment.

The industry is promising and has a number of supporters. Government R&D funding is strong, regulatory reform is underway, and utilities are beginning to embrace the idea of investing in energy storage as a valuable asset they own, control and use. GTM Research expects 30 percent to 50 percent cost reductions in the next twelve to twenty-four months as a result of next-generation technologies and decreased balance-of-system costs, spurring the growth of grid-scale energy storage.

“Energy storage will support and compete with conventional generation, transmission and distribution resources,” says report author Chet Lyons. “As the industry evolves, new business models will emerge where companies make, apply and operate storage assets to allow the grid to work more reliably and cost-effectively while decreasing negative impacts.”

FIGURE: Energy Storage Industry Players

The 310-page report identifies and expands on the most promising energy storage applications, geographic markets and market segments. The report also identifies and discusses 150 companies that are active in the North American storage industry, including 25 that are particularly well positioned to succeed.