US Energy Storage Broke Records in 2018, but the Best Is Yet to Come

The groundbreaking installations came from business as usual, rather than in response to extreme events.

The U.S. energy storage industry delivered record deployments in 2018, driven by a strong fourth quarter for utility-scale projects.

But the new achievement for the young industry pales compared to what’s to come: an expected doubling in 2019, followed by a tripling in 2020. Such growth will propel energy storage out of pilot-scale projects and into grid planning conversations around the country.

Battery installations for 2018 totaled 311 megawatts and 777 megawatt-hours, according to the new Energy Storage Monitor released by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie and the Energy Storage Association, with data from Q4 and 2018 as a whole.

Smaller-scale batteries in residential and commercial sites had collectively outperformed the utility-scale segment for the previous four quarters in terms of megawatts deployed. Q4 broke that losing streak and made up for an otherwise low-output year for the large-format batteries.

Utility-scale set the quarterly record for megawatt-hours deployed, beating the record set by the rapid-fire Aliso Canyon procurement, which fast-tracked batteries for capacity in Southern California after a massive natural-gas leak.

The fact that this record happened in the course of business as usual, rather than a special circumstance like Aliso Canyon, signals that the industry is diversifying and maturing, said Daniel Finn-Foley, senior storage analyst at WoodMac and an author of the report.

“This isn’t a fluke quarter; this is the natural evolution we’ve been looking at the market developing toward, and now it’s finally happening,” Finn-Foley said in an interview.

Though California and the PJM market still dominate in terms of cumulative installed storage capacity, the quarter’s new builds revealed a growing geographical scope of activity. Large-scale projects with a variety of business models came online in Hawaii, California, Texas, Minnesota and Colorado, Finn-Foley noted.


Source :

Smart Grid Bulletin May 2019

View all SMART GRID Bulletins click here