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Those who follow the emergence of renewables know that one of the biggest drawbacks is intermittency. The wind and the sun are not necessarily most plentiful when electricity is in demand.
The solution to this problem is storage. Stored power can be turned on whenever it’s needed regardless of when it was generated. The energy sector has responded with a strong interest.
According to Pike Research, a Boulder, Colo.-based clean tech market research firm, the number of energy storage projects deployed and in the works are increasing steadily worldwide. The company reports that the total number of energy storage projects worldwide reached 714 in the last quarter of 2012.
In its publication, “Energy Storage Tracker,” Pike compiled an extensive database of projects, organizing them according to various categories, including location, market segment, status, technology, funding and other characteristics.
According to Pike, storage project expansion is attributable to two factors: an increase in the demand and a loosening up of capital investment. Pike also credits various government strategies for expanding the number and capacity of the projects.
According to the report, Asia-Pacific leads the global market for energy storage capacity deployed, but North America leads the global market in terms of the number of projects that are in the works, a key indicator of where market activity is taking place.
The study includes a range of storage technologies. Hydroelectric pumped storage has the greatest share, but other technologies—such as compressed air, flywheels, lithium-ion batteries, flow batteries, and molten salt—will gain traction as cost-effective and practical alternatives.