ESA Conference Keynote: Energy Storage Costs “Plummeting,” Industry Has “Turned a Corner”

The Energy Storage Association (ESA)’s 27th Annual Conference and Expo in Denver last month brought together the booming energy storage industry as it discussed the best ways to “set a path forward for continued growth and acceleration of energy storage markets, policy, and technology.”  There was a great deal of positive news for the industry coming out of the conference, including that  energy storage costs are “plummeting,” that the industry “has turned a corner,” and that more people need to hear this success story.

How quickly the energy storage industry is growing is explained well by an article in Greentech Media, which declares that the industry’s “dreams are coming true,” and that the “general feeling from the [ESA] conference” was “ebullient,” that “we’ve made it.”

As ESA Conference keynote speaker Bill Ritter, former Colorado Governor and founder of the Center for the New Energy Economy, explained:

Your industry has turned a corner. Costs are plummeting, and projects are demonstrating value in the field. We have to continue to educate and build a bigger dialogue with stakeholders – utilities, regulators, and legislators need to hear your stories.

For his part, ESA Executive Director Matt Roberts, in the opening keynote address on the second day of the conference, could certainly be described as “ebullient” — and rightfully so:

Electrification will fundamentally transform the entire power sector – and this confluence of forces is putting us on a path to deploy more than 35 GW’s of energy storage by 2025. Drastic cost declines, market and regulatory reforms, and, most importantly, increasing recognition of the multi-faceted value of being able to store energy, in all its forms…

What is needed to achieve these outcomes is a fundamental re-thinking of how we invest in the grid, the criteria on which we make decisions, and how we plan to meet our future needs. Holistic planning – investing not predicated on peaks and cost, but driven by value and outcomes for the grid and the many ways that it improves our daily lives.

Worth mentioning is the news released at the conference by Younicos  — a leader and pioneer in grid solutions based on battery storage (full disclosure; Younicos is a Tigercomm client).  According to Younicos, it has commissioned – in partnership with Panasonic, its customer, and local utility Xcel Energy – a 1 MW/2 MWh lithium ion battery system at Peña Station NEXT, “a transit-oriented smart and sustainable development in Denver.”

As the above video explains, the battery storage resource is “enabled by Younicos’s intelligent Y.Q control software” and represents “a model for utility and commercial and industrial (C&I) microgrids…benefit[ing] various stakeholders and the power grid by providing renewables integration, grid resilience, and multiple grid support and operational services, such as peak demand reduction and frequency regulation.”

Stephen L. Prince, Younicos’ CEO, added that the company’s Y.Cube system “is ideally suited for hybrid utility-and-C&I use cases like this one – providing energy security, resiliency, and financial returns from stacked grid services.”

For its part, ESA noted how proud it was that its conference brought together impressive energy storage industry leaders such as Younicos and others. According to ESA Executive Director Matt Roberts:

It was exciting to have a record-setting audience representing every region of the world, participate in the Energy Storage Association’s 27th Annual Conference and Expo. The industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and that is reflected by the diverse audience of nearly 2,000 technology innovators, utilities, energy experts, and market leaders that came to Denver this year. The industry’s leading manufacturers and developers are able to meet with utility decision makers, and new customers and partners in the largest expo dedicated to energy storage.

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