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Energy Storage

Public power utilities rank high in 2018 energy storage installations

Public power utilities overall experienced “significant growth” in energy storage deployment in 2018, according to a new report from the Smart Electric Power Alliance. SEPA tallied that public power utilities deployed 119.7 MWh in 2018 compared with 7.8 MWh in 2017, a 1,435.5% increase.

Public power utilities placed in the top 10 rankings for energy storage deployments in 2018, according to SEPA’s 2019 Utility Energy Storage Market Snapshot.

Salt River Project and the Long Island Power Authority were the fifth and sixth ranked utilities, respectively, in terms of adding new energy storage capacity in their territories,

Sterling Municipal Light Department, the City of Holyoke, and Braintree Electric Light Department – all in Massachusetts – ranked second, third and fourth, respectively, in watt hours of energy storage installed per customer.

In the per capita rankings, Sterling Municipal Light Department was second with 523.1 MWh per customer. City of Holyoke ranked third with 341.6 MWh per customer. And Braintree Electric Light Department was fourth with 240.5 MWh per customer.

Overall, energy storage had a strong showing in 2018, according to the report, with just over 760 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy storage connected to the grid last year, a nearly 45% increase from installations in 2017. With 2018 additions, SEPA now puts total U.S. energy storage capacity at 1,966.6 MWh.

Residential energy storage was the fastest growing sector in 2018, growing at just over 500% year over year. Non-residential energy storage saw a 34.9% increase, and utility energy storage deployments made the largest contribution with the addition of 394.8 MWh, an 11.5% increase over 2017 installations.

The top four ranked utilities in energy storage installations by capacity were Southern California Edison, 154.3 MWh; Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, 102 MWh; Pacific Gas and Electric, 73.2 MWh; and Florida Power & Light, 56 MWh.

Fifth ranked Salt River Project installed 44.5 MWh in 2018, and sixth ranked Long Island Power Authority installed 40 MWh last year. The rankings of both utilities were boosted by the installation of relatively large energy storage projects last year. Salt River Project deployed a stand-alone 10 MW, 40 MWh energy storage facility in Chandler, Arizona, that is designed to inject power into the grid during periods of high demand. And the Long Island Power Authority installed a 5 MW, 40 MWh battery storage device in East Hampton, New York, in 2018 in an effort to help alleviate congestion during periods of high demand.

The Salt River Project and LIPA deployments accounted for 70.6% of the 2018 public power utility deployments.

Electric power cooperatives had a 154.4% increase in deployments from 2017 to 2018, according to SEPA. Investor-owned utilities, however, deployed the most storage of any utility type, accounting for 64.3% of the total market in 2018.

Of the 211 utilities that responded to SEPA’s survey, 94 had at least one energy storage installation in their service territory at the end of 2018 and 25% deployed their first storage project in 2018, SEPA noted.

“Energy storage deployments are accelerating, driven by increasingly compelling economics, favorable state policies, and residential programs in California, Hawaii, and Vermont,” Mac Keller, co-lead author and research associate at SEPA, said in a statement.

The price of lithium-ion storage assets has declined by 72.9% since 2013, the report noted.