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CAES Compressed Air Energy Storage Worldwide-Aarkstore Enterprise Market Research Aggregator

CAES Compressed Air Energy Storage Worldwide-Aarkstore Enterprise Market Research Aggregator

The global market for compressed air energy storage (CAES) sits at a turning point. Since its introduction as a utility scale electricity storage technology in the 1970s, low energy prices and a proliferation of cheap natural gas fired peaking power plants slackened demand for energy storage, and CAES never got off the ground. Over the following decades, only two plants were built, one in the US, and one in Germany. And although these facilities provided effective energy storage capacity at reasonable cost, the need for utility scale energy storage was insufficient to kick start the CAES market.

Recent trends, however, threaten to invigorate the CAES market. Global concerns about climate change, environmental pollution, and energy security have generated a strong, bullish market for renewable energy production. Wind and solar markets, in particular, have seen tremendous gains over the last five years. But wind and solar resources are highly variable in nature. Solar technologies can only provide generation capacity when the sun is shining, and wind turbines can only produce electricity when there is sufficient wind available. Often, sun and wind availability does not align with consumer electricity demand. Therefore, in order to effectively meet demand for renewable electricity, as is now mandated by many government institutions around the globe, renewable energy storage is needed. Also, current grid management issues, including congestion along regional power grids, aging (and very costly) transmission infrastructure, and power supply trends are drawing together to make favorable conditions for CAES as solution for peak power supply and grid management.

CAES components also have the advantage of being, for the most part, readily available and mature. Gas turbines, air compressors, recuperators, injection and extraction wells, and other CAES components represent mature technologies that already operate under streamlined economies of scale. Other, more experimental storage technologies, such as fuel cells, flywheels, or massive batteries, are not close to reaching cost parity with CAES installations. In sum, these trends act as drivers in support of a developing and persistent CAES market. Viable CAES markets will re-emerge in the near term, gaining stability as the technology gains traction, and additional projects come on line, through 2014.

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