Thermal Energy Storage's Efficiency in Managing Inconsistencies of Wind and Solar Power Generation Drives Capacity Installations

The global market for Thermal Energy Storage Technology in terms of installed capacity is projected to reach 10 thousand megawatts (MW) by 2024, driven by robust demand for efficient, reliable, and economical energy storage technologies, the imminent shift towards renewable energy sources and the resulting need to efficiently harness, store and utilize wind and solar energy.

Thermal energy storage (TES) represents an economical energy storage option that continues to play an integral role in the current and future electric power systems. While the technology is used for both heating and cooling applications, it is for cooling that it received considerable commercial patronage and a wide base of utility, industry and manufacturing support. The inherent technology in thermal energy storage has undergone drastic transformation over the years to render significant energy saving benefits to modern life. The technology primarily shifts electric power load from peak periods to off-peak periods in addition to reducing energy use by taking optimum advantage of cooler weather during night time for efficient running of chillers during day time. Superior attributes of thermal energy storage over other energy storage options that are driving widespread adoption include reduction in peak demand utility bills; increase in efficiency levels of facilities leading to significant savings in energy costs; enabling more flexible plant operations; addition of efficient backup capacity; elimination of the need for larger generation equipment for supply during peak demand; and reduction in maintenance and capital costs for the utilities, among others.

Future growth in the market will be driven by expanding share of intermittent renewable energy sources, the urgent need for improved energy management amidst increasing demand for uninterrupted power supply and the vital role of TES in development of efficient disruption-resistant grids. Thermal energy storage systems have a major role to play in efficiently harnessing, storing and utilizing electricity generated from wind turbines, while Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), which use different types of TES systems, represent the ideal technology to deliver sustainable and commercial-scale energy continuously. As the share of renewable energy in the generation mix increases, there exist significant opportunities for thermal energy storage systems for storing such intermittent energy for effective later use, thus serving the purpose of syncing supply with out-of-phase demand. Other important factors driving market growth include rising costs of conventional energy generation, growth in VES (variable energy sources), increasing demand for backup power supplies, growing trend towards Green/LEED buildings, and the significant interest generated by the evolving IoT standard and upcoming smart cities.

Europe represents the largest market worldwide, followed by the United States. Problems concerned with limited resources for energy generation and the need to curb carbon emissions rank as the most important factor spurring growth in these markets. Asia-Pacific ranks as the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 19.1% over the analysis period. Exponential rise in electricity demand, lack of fundamental infrastructure to deal with unreliable and limited power grids, unpenetrated and underpenetrated nature of the markets, and abundant available of renewable energy sources such as sunlight and wind represent key growth drivers in the region.

Key players in the market include Abengoa Solar, S.A., AREVA NP SAS, Baltimore Aircoil Company, Inc., BrightSource Energy, Inc., Burns & McDonnell, Caldwell Energy Company, CALMAC Corporation, Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V., DC Pro Engineering LLC, DN Tanks, Dunham-Bush Holding Bhd., Evapco, Inc., Fafco Inc., Finetex EnE Inc., Goss Engineering, Inc., Ice Energy, Inc., Siemens AG, SolarReserve, LLC, Steffes Corporation, Sunwell Technologies Inc., and TAS Energy, Inc., among others.

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