The global market for alternative energy storage market reached $847 million in 2016. This market should reach $1.3 billion in 2017 and nearly $5.7 billion by 2022 under a consensus scenario at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.0% through 2022.
Utility-scale power generation has moved beyond the tried and true coal-fired, oil-burning, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric stages. Significant amounts of electric power are generated using generally smaller, alternative sources such as wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal. As these smaller power generation approaches proliferate, the problem of off-peak generation becomes important: What if power is generated when it is not needed? What should be done at night, or when the wind does not blow, or when it blows too hard? Power system designers are now rolling out ways to store alternative power so that it can be used when needed.
At the same time, the power generation mix is roiling. Historically low natural-gas prices are beginning to rise. The Japanese nuclear power infrastructure has stabilized, but there are profound concerns about the Japanese nuclear power situation in general and the overall safety and desirability of nuclear power in particular. After eight years of a U.S. administration that strove to wind down coal-burning power plants, the new U.S. political power brokers are very pro-coal. Despite scientific consensus around and historic responses to global climate change, leaders at the very highest levels are backing down on moving away from fossil fuels. Solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal/wave power generation technologies have advanced to the point where they can compete with conventional methods in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental impact. This is vital, because government incentives may be ending or at least retreating.