IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Is inexpensive natural gas hindering the grid energy storage industry?

Listed author(s):
  • Hittinger, Eric
  • Lueken, Roger
Registered author(s):

    Grid energy storage is a maturing technology and forecasts of the industry's growth have been promising. However, recent years have realized little growth in actual deployments of grid-level storage and several high-profile storage companies and projects have failed. We hypothesize that falling natural gas prices have significantly reduced the potential profit from many U.S. energy storage projects since 2009 and quantify that effect. We use engineering–economic models to calculate the monthly revenue to energy storage devices providing frequency regulation and energy arbitrage in several electricity markets and compare that revenue to prevailing natural gas prices. We find that flywheel devices providing frequency regulation were profitable in months when natural gas prices were above $7/mcf, but face difficulties at current prices (around $4/mcf). For energy arbitrage alone, we find that the breakeven capital cost for large-scale storage was around $300/kWh in several key locations in 2004–2008, but is around $100/kWh in the same locations today. Though cost and performance improvements have been continually decreasing the effective cost of energy services from storage, fundamental market signals indicating the need for energy storage are at or near 10-year lows for both energy arbitrage and frequency regulation.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421515300811
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 87 (2015)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 140-152

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:87:y:2015:i:c:p:140-152
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2015.08.036
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as
    in new window


    1. Walawalkar, Rahul & Apt, Jay & Mancini, Rick, 2007. "Economics of electric energy storage for energy arbitrage and regulation in New York," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 2558-2568, April.
    2. Sioshansi, Ramteen & Denholm, Paul & Jenkin, Thomas & Weiss, Jurgen, 2009. "Estimating the value of electricity storage in PJM: Arbitrage and some welfare effects," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 269-277, March.
    3. Alexandre Kossoy & Klaus Oppermann & Alexandrina Platonova-Oquab & Suphachol Suphachalasai & Niklas Höhne & Noémie Klein & Alyssa Gilbert & Long Lam & Gemma Toop & Qian Wu & Markus Hagemann & Carlos C, "undated". "State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2014," World Bank Other Operational Studies 18415, The World Bank.
    4. In, Younghwan & Wright, Julian, 2014. "Loss-leader pricing and upgrades," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 19-22.
    5. Min, Brian & Golden, Miriam, 2014. "Electoral cycles in electricity losses in India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 619-625.
    6. Drury, Easan & Denholm, Paul & Sioshansi, Ramteen, 2011. "The value of compressed air energy storage in energy and reserve markets," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 4959-4973.
    7. Connolly, D. & Lund, H. & Finn, P. & Mathiesen, B.V. & Leahy, M., 2011. "Practical operation strategies for pumped hydroelectric energy storage (PHES) utilising electricity price arbitrage," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 4189-4196, July.
    8. Sioshansi, Ramteen & Denholm, Paul & Jenkin, Thomas, 2011. "A comparative analysis of the value of pure and hybrid electricity storage," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 56-66, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:87:y:2015:i:c:p:140-152. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.