by Robert Walton, Utility Dive
Energy storage developers installed 336 MWh in 2016, doubling the volume rolled out the year before. The marked increase was driven by a record-breaking fourth quarter, when more than 200 MWh came online.
According to new analysis from GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association, the late rush of installations were more than the sum of the previous 12 quarters combined. Additions in California made up most of the Q4 total.
The results of the U.S Energy Storage Monitor 2016 reveal a significant shift in storage applications, including a move towards longer-duration projects. As a result, GTM said the market stayed roughly flat in megawatts, but grew 100% in megawatt-hours.
The startling jump in in energy storage installations last quarter was driven by California, where the state has been rushing out battery projects to maintain reliability in the face of a natural gas shortage for generators in the Los Angeles basin.
That deployment spurred by the Aliso Canyon methane leak brought hundreds of megawatt-hours of storage online at the end of the year, marking a larger shift in how storage is being used, say analysts.
“The fourth quarter marked a turning point in the U.S. utility-scale energy storage market reflected by the burst of deployments over an extremely short period from inception to interconnection,” Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage, said in a statement.
While California will play a significant role, pushing utilities to acquire 1.3 GW of storage, Manghani said the the market shift “was also transformational in terms of applications — from short duration ancillary services to longer duration capacity needs.”
GTM said measured in power, 221 MW of energy storage were deployed last year, “essentially flat year-over-year.”
California made up almost 90% of all installed energy storage capacity in the fourth quarter due to the hefty four-hour battery systems procured in the Aliso Canyon solicitation. GTM said that trend of long-duration system deployments is likely to continue this year. The firm sees the United States’ energy storage market growing 336 MWh last year to 7.3 GWh in 2022 — potentially a $3.3 billion market.
Already, 2017 has seen some notable long-duration deployments.
Last month, SDG&E and AES began operation of the largest lithium-ion battery system in the world, a 30 MW, 120 MWh facility in Escondido. And in January, Powin Energy rolled out a 2 MW, 8 MWh battery energy storage system in Irvine, Calif., to provide peaking capacity and grid support services to Southern California Edison.
Both those projects were also a part of the Aliso Canyon order and were installed in about six months.