For energy companies seeking to compete, there is no better time to start adopting the solutions and market-based incentives to boost the path to a clean and profitable future electric grid.

FREMONT, CA: In the future, several homes and businesses will leverage solar panels, wind turbines, and other innovative technologies to generate energy, as well as consume it. To e­fficiently manage the many sources of supply and demand, energy companies will require a network of connected sensors that offers real-time visibility and control of the electricity grid. Energy generation has never been one technology market. Gas, nuclear, coal, hydro, solar, and wind all contribute to the global generation ability, and each plays many roles based on their specific features.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all situation, the future will see segmentation in the energy storage sector, driven by myriad factors like technology type, age, warranty limitations, control systems, financing structures, and operating methodologies. The technical and economic factors fuelling this segmentation will necessitate several storage products for different applications. Once implemented, a further segmentation for dispatch will emerge.

Within gas, there are several solutions, from reciprocating engines to combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGTs). Selection amongst these solutions is made at the time of implementation based on the purpose they are intended to serve. During their operational lifetime, the generator is dispatched to keep pace with market needs at the lowest cost. The same will apply to energy storage. Within a storage fleet, there will be older installations coming to the end of their life, competing in the markets alongside newer systems with different operating strategies. It is seamless to see how differentiation will evolve as energy storage grows in future grid scenarios.

Storage costs, especially for lithium, have seen a sharp decrease, similar to the wind and solar cost mitigations. Lithium solutions are now dominating the deployed storage volumes, but only where lithium fits the need. Non-lithium technologies are starting to move down the cost-curve fast and are beginning to reveal arenas where lithium is not the best fit. For energy storage to facilitate a net-zero future, there are some challenges too. The bias towards current technologies in current markets is one among them. The way forward for energy firms lies in addressing these challenges head-on.

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