A record high 5 GW of battery storage capacity was added worldwide in 2020, bringing the total capacity to around 17 GW
Energy storage allows for flexibility in the timing of when energy is supplied and when it is used. Energy storage comes in a number of forms, including chemical, kinetic, thermal, gravitational potential, electromagnetic, electrochemical and osmotic potential. The choice of storage solution depends on location as well as reserve service required, since different technologies can provide different capacities and durations of storage. Storage of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels has been commonplace for centuries; as the low carbon transition requires integration of increasing intermittent renewable sources into the system, energy storage is becoming integral for reducing dependency on fossil fuels and achieving a flexible, resilient energy network. Strategic placement of storage also gives the potential to avoid otherwise necessary network upgrades and curtailment of expensive assets. Greater connectivity between different energy networks, i.e. interconnection across national grids, can allow for security of supply without needing additional generation capacity.
Energy storage has applications varying from small-scale local systems in homes or commercial buildings – which are becoming increasingly common alongside the rise of distributed generation – to utility-scale storage systems. Common examples of energy storage include batteries (mainly lithium-ion) which store electricity as chemical energy, pumped hydroelectric storage systems which store gravitational potential energy in elevated reservoirs, and ice storage tanks which store thermal energy by freezing water with cheaper energy at night to meet peak cooling demand in daytime. Surplus renewable electricity can also be used to produce energy carriers like hydrogen, enabling the storage of renewable energy for long periods. Electric vehicles can also function as storage systems, since electricity can be transferred both to and from the batteries of plugged-in vehicles when needed. With energy storage expected to play a greater role towards a low-carbon and sustainable energy future, various storage technologies must be evaluated to balance the trade-offs between life-cycle cost, efficiency, material sustainability and safety.
Learn more about storage by reading our Energy Insights.
Read our New Energy World articles on how energy storage fits into strategies for carbon reduction.
Learn about recent public funding for research and development of energy storage on our policy milestone calendar.
increase seen in overall investment in battery storage in 2020 (IEA)
fall in the price (volume-weighted average) of a lithium-ion battery pack since 2010 saw prices reach an average of $137/kWh in 2020 (BloombergNEF)
of global energy storage in forecast to be installed by 2030, compared to 34 GWh in 2020 (BloombergNEF)
will be saved by bill-payers by 2050 by moving to a zero carbon gas grid t (Energy Networks Association)
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Events and training
Webinar: Development of a safety case for hydrogen storage and distribution by pipeline (Hy2004)
Webinar: Development of a safety case for hydrogen storage and distribution by pipeline (Hy2004)Zoom
Tank Storage Conference and Exhibition
The Tank Storage Conference and Exhibition is the UK’s leading event for the bulk liquid storage sector. The event has a proven track record of ...
Tank Storage Conference and Exhibition
The Tank Storage Conference and Exhibition is the UK’s leading event for the bulk storage and energy infrastructure sector.
Hazardous Area Classification - November 2023
07/11/2023 - 09/11/2023
This 3-day training course will provide delegates with training on the Energy Institute Model Safe Code of Practice 15, Area Classification for Instal...
Aviation Jet Fuel - Nov 2023
14/11/2023 - 16/11/2023
This 3-day training course will provide delegates with an overview of aviation jet fuel, focusing on the jet engine, its underlying principles and fue...
Technical guidance publications
Vulnerability review and assessment for safety and environmental critical equipment to control escalation risks on atmospheric storage tank sites
The vulnerability of safety and environmental critical (SEC) equipment used in emergency response to prevent, limit, or mitigate further escalation co...
Model Code of Safe Practice Part 19: Fire precautions at petroleum refineries and bulk storage installations
EI Model Code of Safe Practice Part 19: Fire precautions at petroleum refineries and bulk storage installations (a.k.a. EI 19) provides gui...
Investigation into the risk and impact associated with non-diesel fuel engine vehicles, by type, whilst entering or working within hazardous storage locations (Phase 3)
The Road to Zero sets out a path for zero emissions and ultra-low emission vehicles, clearly setting out a drive for manufacturers to develop and sell...
Model Code of Safe Practice Part 11: Bitumen safety code
The 5th edition of Model Code of Safe Practice Part 11: Safety, health and environmental aspects of design, construction, operation, inspection and ma...
Tripod lite: A ‘lite’ tool for investigating simple incidents, events and near misses
This publication is free to download. Register or log in, then click 'download'.Note: this will download a document 'landing page' that inc...