Chris Cone, Principal Consultant

Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) – Worthwhile Investment?

Renewable Energy World

The short answer to the question posed in the title is, it depends. Anyone following electric utility trends knows that energy storage tops the list of exciting and transformative technologies in this industry. Rapidly evolving innovations, increasing interest by utilities and consumers, coupled with more competition in this space are key drivers that are making storage more and more attractive to utilities and related companies. On the positive side, prices are projected to continue a downward trend and storage is now being seriously looked at for several different applications on the grid. The downside is that costs are still fairly high and, without regulatory requirements or subsidies, BESS’s still may not be cost-effective in many regions.

Although costs of battery energy storage systems continue to come down, utility scale systems such as utility, ISO, and 3rd party aggregator owned systems have not typically been investments with positive business cases, save for a few unique market or regulatory situations around the world. This is rapidly changing as several forces are converging to make these larger scale systems more attractive. Battery pack costs are expected to fall 40% to around $200/kWh (average of multiple projections), and the Balance Of System (BOS) costs are expected to fall 25% by 2025.

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