US battery storage projects on the rise, utility-scale capacity could triple by 2023

Battery storage projects are taking off in the US, with a substantial leap expected in the coming years, as the country could triple its utility-scale battery storage power operating capacity by 2023.

According to an update from the US Energy Information Administration, 1623 MW of new utility-scale battery storage capacity is set to come online by 2023, up from a current total of 899 MW. Total capacity is expected to be around 2.5 GW of utility-scale battery storage by that year, nearly tripling the current capacity.

Considering other battery projects that may be currently unreported, or projects that may still be introduced and come online during that timeframe, it’s easy to see how storage could go beyond 3x the current capacity.

Utility-scale battery storage power capacity more than quadrupled from the end of 2014 (214 MW) through March 2019 (899 MW), so a similar rise through 2023 shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Renewable energy and battery costs are both falling — the EIA notes “pairing utility-scale battery storage with intermittent renewable resources, such as wind and solar, has become increasingly competitive compared with traditional generation options” — and the adminstration also points to agreeable state policies and a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order as major factors in the rise.

The two largest operating utility-scale battery storage sites at the moment both provide 40 MW of power capacity, though a number of much larger projects are set to come online in the next few years, including the Manatee Energy Storage Center in Florida, which should open in 2021.

While the EIA says FPL’s 409 MW/900 MWh Manatee center will be the largest battery in the US — and the world — there’s going to be plenty of competition for that title. For instance, the Gemini Solar Project in Nevada is awaiting approval, and that 531 MW/2125 MWh battery system would top Florida’s effort.

California, Illinois, and Texas alone make up nearly half of the total installed battery storage in the US thus far. The EIA revealed the top ten states in utility-scale storage, and a few others may come as a surprise:

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