At least a dozen battery projects meant to store electrical power on the grid have been delayed in the past few months, according to Reuters.
What’s going on: The projects, which are intended to support renewable energy sources and span California, Hawaii and Georgia, “have been postponed, canceled or renegotiated as labor and transport bottlenecks, soaring minerals prices and competition from the electric vehicle industry crimp supply.”
Why it’s important: This slowdown jeopardizes the Biden administration’s plans to decarbonize the grid by 2035 and could pose a risk to power reliability in states that are already heavily renewables-dependent, such as California.
- “Energy storage makes up about 3% of U.S. operating clean energy capacity and has been growing rapidly. Installations soared 170% in the first quarter to 758 megawatts, according to the American Clean Power Association, roughly enough capacity to power 144,000 homes.”
Summer energy concerns: California state authorities had hoped some of the battery storage in development would be online in time to prevent hot-weather outages, and the delays “have concerned state officials, already dealing with perennial power shortages during peak summer demand.”
The EV factor: “Robust demand from EV producers for batteries has also been a headwind, industry players told Reuters. Battery manufacturers are favoring the EV market because their orders are more predictable compared to the lumpy, project-based orders from power storage developers.”
- The growing appetite for EVs means supplies for utility storage projects aren’t likely to meet demand in the near future.
- As Jim Kapsis, founder of climate technology company the Ad Hoc Group, told ENERGYWIRE: “If you can’t get the batteries manufactured and reliably delivered at a price point that is coming down … you’re going to slow the ability of batteries to accelerate the transition.”