More batteries installed. More markets opening up. And grid storage making itself indispensable in unanticipated ways.
For too long, the rhetoric around what storage can do for the grid vastly outweighed the actual doing. This year, the industry closed that gap more than ever before.
Exceedingly few batteries actually live up to the vision of “storing clean power for when the sun isn’t shining.” Batteries perform miniscule adjustments to grid frequency, or lower businesses’ electricity consumption during a peak hour, or sit around waiting to provide clean backup power, but try messaging that to voters.
This year, finally, big renewables projects with batteries attached closed deals and even entered operations. A few states that wanted to incubate storage industries of their own proved that sharp policy really can create new markets in relatively short periods of time.
Big regulated utilities with no prior interest in batteries decided they’d like to own them in copious amounts. All the headlines made it possible to forget that the scientific pioneers of lithium-ion batteries won the Nobel freakin’ Prize this fall.
That said, the U.S. storage market will triple next year and double again the year after that. All this excitement is still just a little snack before the main course. But, like some well-marinated olives or a tin of anchovies, little snacks can pack a lot of flavor.