With the rapidly falling costs of solar and wind power technologies, increasing shares of variable renewable energy will become the norm, while efforts to decarbonise the transport sector are being accelerated by the use of electric vehicles. This need to accommodate variable energy supply while providing undisrupted output in the electricity sector, as well as efforts to integrate renewables into the end-use sectors has brought into sharp relief the significant potential, as well as crucial importance, of electricity storage to facilitate deep decarbonisation.
Electricity storage that is based on rapidly improving batteries and other technologies will permit greater system flexibility, a key asset as the share of variable renewables increases. More directly, electricity storage makes possible a transport sector dominated by electric vehicles; enables effective, 24-hour off-grid solar home systems; and supports 100% renewable mini-grids.
IRENA has analysed the current costs and performance of a range of electricity storage technologies in stationary applications, as well as the cost reduction and performance improvement potential to 2030 in the report “Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030”. Highlighting that total electricity storage capacity could triple in energy terms by 2030, in tandem with rapid uptake of renewable energy, sufficient to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix in less than a decade and a half. Battery electricity storage could grow by 17-fold and the costs of battery storage technologies fall by up to 66%.