Why is Demand for Mechanical Energy Storage Exploding in Asia-Pacific?

The lower per kilo watt hour (kWh) costs of energy installation of mechanical energy storage systems than other types of energy storage methods are pushing up the popularity of mechanical energy storage. 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. Furthermore, the increasing concerns being raised over the environmental damage caused due to fossil fuels is adding fire to the mechanical energy storage popularity.


According to the International Energy Association (IEA), by 2030, the world will require as much as 266 GW of energy storage for keeping global warming below 2 °C. This is a huge jump in energy storage requirement from the recorded 176.5 GW in 2017. Mechanical energy storage systems use gravitational and kinetic forces for storing inputted energy. The technologies that power the effective and efficient usage of these forces are highly advanced.


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In various real-world applications, these systems are made feasible by cutting-edge computer control devices, technologically advanced materials, and innovative designs. Flywheel, compressed air energy storage, and pumped hydro storage are the most commonly used mechanical energy storage systems across the world. Out of these, the usage of the pumped hydro storage systems is currently observed to be the highest. This is because the PHS technology is comparatively more well-established than the other technologies. 


For example, according to the World Energy Council, over 95% of the total worldwide energy storage requirements are met by PHS-driven mechanical energy storage systems. Moreover, these systems have offered a highly cost-effective method for supporting grid balancing services and providing large-scale storage solutions. Commercial, utility, industrial, and residential are the major application areas of mechanical energy storage systems. Out of these, the demand for energy storage is considerably high from utilities. 


This is because numerous energy storage services are needed by utility projects such as ancillary services, bulk energy services, renewable energy adoption and grid support services for reducing network congestion during those hours when the energy demand is very high. This subsequently helps utility companies extend the lifespan of assets and enhance the resilience of systems, which, in turn, improves the system’s energy generation efficiency. Globally, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) mechanical energy storage market is currently recording rapid advancement.


As per the findings of P&S Intelligence, a market research company based in India, the biggest factor responsible for the growth of the industry in this region is the soaring investments being made by the governments of regional countries, especially India and China, in energy storage solutions. For example, as per the estimates of the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), industry will reach a capacity of more than 300 GWh in 2025 and will require an investment worth $3 billion. 


Hence, it can be safely concluded that the demand for mechanical energy storage systems would rise tremendously across the world in the upcoming years, mainly due to the rising requirement for energy storage in the commercial, industrial, residential, and utility sectors and the increasing adoption of renewable energy sources for power generation all over the world.

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