Guest “Now that’s funny right there!” by David Middleton
OCTOBER 23, 2020
Utility-scale battery storage costs decreased nearly 70% between 2015 and 2018
The average energy capacity cost of utility-scale battery storage in the United States has rapidly decreased from $2,152 per kilowatthour (kWh) in 2015 to $625/kWh in 2018. Battery storage systems store electricity produced by generators or pulled directly from the electric power grid and redistribute the power later as needed. At the end of 2018, the United States had 869 megawatts (MW) of installed battery power capacity (the maximum amount of power a battery can provide at a given moment) and 1,236 megawatthours (MWh) of battery energy capacity (the total amount of energy that can be stored by a battery).
Battery storage costs vary by region and application.
California had the most installed battery capacity of any state in 2019. The average battery storage cost in California was $1,522/kWh. About two-thirds of battery storage capacity in California is used for frequency regulation. Batteries in the state also provide energy-oriented services, including ancillary services, black start services, and easing transmission congestion.
According to EIA data, the United States added 152 MW of battery storage capacity in 2019 and added an additional 301 MW in 2020 through July 2020. EIA also collects data on planned future battery capacity additions. Based on planned capacity additions data reported to EIA by developers and power plant owners as of July 2020, EIA expects battery storage to increase by more than 6,900 MW in the next few years. About 2,300 MW of the 6,900 MW of planned battery storage capacity was reported to EIA between April and June 2020. Large battery storage systems are increasingly paired with renewable energy power plants to increase grid reliability and resilience.
Principal contributors: Sara Hoff, Alexander MeyUS EIA
According to the EIA’s most recent Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE), solar PV is down to $0.037/kWh ($0.029 with tax credit). Since Sun doesn’t shine at night, the cost of solar power at night is now down to $625.037/kWh.
The LCOE of natural gas combined cycle is $0.036/kWh 24/7/365.
In light of some of the comments…
- Clearly, Larry the Cable Guy isn’t as universally recognized as I thought.
- The $625/kWh is the capacity cost of the battery storage system.
- The price would be amortized over the life of the battery storage system.
- If the battery storage system lasted 10 years (3,650 cycles) the cost of nighttime solar power would drop all the way to $0.207/kWh versus $0.036/kWh for natural gas combined cycle, depending on natural gas prices.