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Energy storage is starting to rival new transmission

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Jan 18, 2023
Three batteries as the bars of a bar chart, each one increasing in height.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Energy storage has emerged as a viable alternative to building transmission lines — and investors and utilities are taking notice.

Why it matters: The breakthrough is timely, as transmission issues remain one of the biggest bottlenecks slowing renewables deployment.

Driving the news: A new study from consulting group Quanta Technology argues that energy storage can compete on a cost basis with transmission.

  • Caveat: The study was commissioned by — wait for it — an energy storage industry group. But other studies have emerged with the same conclusion.
  • One example comes from consultant Guidehouse Insights, which in February also found that storage systems can rival new transmission.

Meanwhile: Grid operators and investors are already acting.

  • California's Public Utilities Commission last week approved 800 MW in new solar and storage projects, per Utility Dive.
  • Last week, storage developer Hydrostor signed a $1 billion, 25-year PPA to supply customers in California.

Plus: The U.S. is on track for nearly a 4x increase in utility-scale energy storage by 2025, the Energy Information Administration wrote last month.

  • The bulk of new storage projects are planned for California and Texas — 23 GW in operating and planned storage capacity in those two states alone, per S&P Market Intelligence.
  • The next closest is Nevada, at about 3.6 GW.
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