BOULDER, USA: In the context of the power grid, ancillary services refer to auxiliary functions that are necessary to maintain the balance and quality of electricity on the grid. Energy storage systems (ESS) are of particular usefulness in achieving this balance and quality at the grid operator level and can perform key functions that include frequency regulation, voltage support (or control), short duration renewables integration, spinning reserves, electric supply reserve capacity, and load following.
While energy storage systems for ancillary services are currently hindered by existing market structures, high capital costs, and discrepancies between asset ownership and the accrued benefits of such systems, as well as supply chain and project management challenges, the potential share for energy storage systems within the larger ancillary services market will increase over time.
According to a recent report from Pike Research, the growing need to integrate intermittent renewable sources of energy, particularly solar and wind power, into the power grid will help drive significant growth in ESS for ancillary services over the next decade.
The cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that revenues from ESS for ancillary services applications will rise from $412 million in 2011 to more than $3.2 billion by 2021.
“Highly responsive, flexible technologies will perform better than slower or niche technologies, unless these can reach a threshold of market penetration to counter their disadvantages,” says research analyst Anissa Dehamna. “That said, the potential market for ancillary services is vast and will continue to grow as global generation capacity increases, as a result of both new electrification and capacity additions to existing networks, and increased instability resulting from renewables integration.”
Dehamna adds that, in the initial adoption period, the ESS for ancillary services market will be limited to regions with suitable market structures, primarily deregulated electricity markets. The key regions will be North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, particularly for frequency regulation, load following, spinning reserves, and short-duration renewables integration. The primary technologies for these ancillary services include flywheels, pumped storage, compressed air energy storage, and battery technologies such as lithium ion, sodium sulfur, and advanced lead-acid batteries.