Energy practitioners all sense it. Now a leading consultancy is the latest to put numbers around the intuition: “The 2020s are the decade of energy storage”, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

BNEF’s 2021 Global Energy Storage Outlook  forecasts this decade will see a twenty-fold worldwide expansion in grid- and home-scale, non-EV battery capacity.

Non-vehicle installations will reach a cumulative 358 gigawatts of stored power, or 1,028 gigawatt-hours capacity by the end of 2030, against 2020’s achieved total of the 17 gigawatts/34 gigawatt-hours available across the planet.

Global capital investment of at least $262 billion will pay for the exponential growth, BNEF calculates.

As much as 345 gigawatts/999 gigawatt-hours of new energy storage capacity will be added globally between 2021 and 2030, BNEF’s 2021 Global Energy Storage Outlook estimates. That’s more than Japan’s entire generation capacity in 2020.

Yayoi Sekine, head of decentralized energy at BNEF, added: “This is the energy storage decade. We’ve been anticipating significant scale-up for many years and the industry is now more than ready to deliver.”

China and the US will account for over half the world’s storage installations by 2030.  Pursuing a challenging target of 30 gigawatts of cumulative build by 2025, Beijing will use stricter rules to integrate renewables onto the nation’s grid.

State governments and regional utilities will propel America’s battery deployment, with federal initiatives such as Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure leadership complementing, but not shaping, storage’s adoption.

Britain will also feature among top markets such as India, Australia, Germany and Japan. Supportive regulators, ambitious climate commitments, and the growing need for flexible resources are common drivers, says BNEF.

Time-shifting to favour clean consumption ( – for example, storing solar or wind power for evening use – ) will account for 55% of storage investment by 2030, BNEF forecasts.

Established models of clean generation co-located with batteries storage are already commonplace and will become more so. Home- and factory-sited batteries will make up around a quarter of all installations by volume by 2030.

Europe currently lags behind other regions due to the lack of targeted policies and incentives, say the analysts. This may be surprising, in the light of Europe’s ambitious climate targets. Growth could accelerate in the region as more fossil-fuel generators exit, and if the battery supply chain becomes more localized.

BNEF expects batteries to dominate storage markets at least until the 2030s, in large part due to their price competitiveness and established supply chains.

This year for the first time, say the analysts, more lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) components will be used in stationary storage than nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) chemistries

Non-battery technologies providing longer dispatch duration are under development, such as compressed air and thermal energy storage. If breakthrough technologies can successfully outcompete lithium-ion, then total uptake may well be larger.

More from Bloomberg’s report here.


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