IEA Technology Roadmap - Energy Storage

Posted: March 19, 2014 - 15:58 / IEA / Reports

Energy storage technologies absorb energy and store it for a period of time before releasing it to supply energy or power services. Through this process, storage technologies can bridge temporal and (when coupled with other energy infrastructure components) geographical gaps between energy supply and demand. Energy storage technologies can be implemented on large and small scales in distributed and centralised manners throughout the energy system. While some technologies are mature or near maturity, most are still in the early stages of development and will require additional attention before their potential can be fully realised.

In this roadmap, energy storage technologies are categorised by output: electricity and thermal (heat or cold).  Technologies in both categories can serve as generators and consumers, giving them the potential to link currently disconnected energy markets (e.g. power, transportation fuels, and local heat markets). Broadly speaking, energy storage is a system integration technology that allows for the improved management of energy supply and demand. In many cases, a single unit of energy storage infrastructure can provide multiple valuable energy and power services.

This roadmap aims to increase understanding among a range of stakeholders of the applications that electricity and thermal energy storage technologies can be used for at different locations in the energy system. Emphasis is placed on storage technologies that are connected to a larger energy system (e.g. electricity grid), while a smaller portion of the discussion focuses on off-grid storage applications. This focus is complemented by a discussion of the existing technology, policy, and economic barriers that hinder energy storage deployment. Specific actions that can be taken to remove these obstacles are identified for key energy system stakeholder groups.

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