The increasing concern over the damage caused to the environment because of the large-scale usage of fossil fuels for power generation is one of the biggest factors contributing toward the development of mechanical energy storage systems all around the world. For instance, according to the International Energy Association (IEA), the world will need to increase the amount of stored energy from 176.5 GW in 2017 to 266 GW by 2030 for keeping global warming below 2 °C.
The cost per kilo watt hour (kWh) of installation of mechanical energy storage systems is much lower as compared to the other types of energy storage systems. For example, the installation costs of compressed air energy storage (CAES) and pumped hydro storage (PHS) types of mechanical energy storage are $53/kWh and $21/kWh respectively, which are much lower than the other types of energy storage, which are usually between $100–$1000/kWh. Driven by these factors, the global mechanical energy storage market is predicted to demonstrate considerable growth over the coming years.
The most commonly adopted types of mechanical energy storage technology are compressed air energy storage (CAES), flywheel energy storage (FES), and pumped hydro storage (PHS). Out of these, the adoption of PHS type of mechanical energy storage is currently observed to be the highest throughout the world. For instance, according to the World Energy Council, over 95% of the global energy storage is currently met by the PHS technology. Moreover, this technology has been providing cost-effective large-scale energy storage solutions and supporting grid balancing services over the last few years.
A major trend currently being witnessed in the mechanical energy storage market is the application of energy storage solutions and various associated grid technologies in the utilities sector. Many utility asset companies and owners are increasingly adopting energy storage solutions in order to meet the high demand for energy during the peak hours and also for providing back-up power. According to a report published by the World Energy Council in January 2016, a sharp decline is expected to be observed in the costs of most of the energy storage technologies during the 2015–2030 period.
Globally, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is currently observing substantial usage of mechanical energy storage systems. This is attributed to the soaring investments being made by the governments of various APAC countries such as India and China in energy storage solutions. For example, as per the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), the total value of energy storage will increase to more than 300 GWh by 2025. North America is also expected to observe major growth in the adoption of energy storage technologies in the coming years, mainly on account of the burgeoning requirement of electricity storage systems in the region.
Hence, it may safely be said that the adoption of mechanical energy storage technology will surge across the world in the years ahead, because of the increasing need for energy storage in order to curtail the global warming and rising pollution levels caused by the large-scale utilization of fossil fuels for power generation and the low costs of installation of the mechanical energy storage systems.