Storage Futures Study
The Storage Futures Study (SFS) considers when and where a range of storage technologies are cost-competitive, depending on how they're operated and what services they provide for the grid.
Through the SFS, NREL is analyzing the potentially fundamental role of energy storage in maintaining a resilient, flexible electrical grid through the year 2050.
In this multiyear study, analysts are leveraging NREL energy storage projects, data, and tools to explore the role and impact of relevant and emerging energy storage technologies in the U.S. power sector across a range of potential future cost and performance scenarios through the year 2050.
The SFS—supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Storage Grand Challenge—is designed to examine the potential impact of energy storage technology advancement on the deployment of utility-scale storage and the adoption of distributed storage as well as the implications for future power system operations.
Technical Report: Distributed Solar and Storage Outlook: Methodology and Scenarios
The fourth report in the series, released July 2021, examines the drivers of customer adoption of behind-the-meter battery storage. Analysts expanded capabilities of NREL's Distributed Generation Market Demand model to simulate customer decisions about whether to adopt distributed storage paired with PV under different scenarios. These scenarios use technology cost and performance assumptions consistent with the 2020 NREL Standard Scenarios paired with updated battery cost projections and existing policies. Additional scenarios evaluate sensitivities to the value of backup power and distributed energy resource compensation mechanisms, collectively characterizing the future potential for behind-the-meter storage and identifying key drivers of adoption.
Technical Report: Economic Potential of Diurnal Storage in the U.S. Power Sector
Technical Report: Energy Storage Technology Modeling Input Data
Data: Model input data
The second report in the series, released May 2021, provides a broad view of energy storage technologies and inputs for forthcoming reports that will feature scenario analysis. This report also presents a synthesis of current cost and performance characteristics of energy storage technologies for storage durations ranging from minutes to months and includes mechanical, thermal, and electrochemical storage technologies for the electricity sector. The analysis covers a broad range of storage technologies that are currently receiving significant attention from the investment community, as well as in the media. In addition, for a smaller set of technologies—primarily lithium-ion batteries—this report provides current and future cost trends until 2050, which is intended for scenario analysis at both the bulk power and distribution system scales.
Released January 2021, the first report in the SFS series presents a first-of-its-kind visionary framework for the possible evolution of the stationary energy storage industry—and the power system as a whole. The vision outlines four phases from shorter to longer storage duration, which could result in hundreds of gigawatts of installed capacity and a significant shift in our electric grid, helping utilities, regulators, and developers plan for the future. Many concepts presented in the report will be further explored in upcoming SFS studies, including detailed results of the modeling and analysis of power system evolution scenarios and their operational implications.
|Phase||Primary Services||National Deployment Potential (Capacity) in Each Phase||Duration||Response Speed|
|Deployment prior to 2010||Peaking capacity, energy time-shifting, and operating reserves||23 GW of pumped storage hydropower||Mostly 8–12 hr||Varies|
|1||Operating reserves||<30 GW||<1 hr||Milliseconds to seconds|
|2||Peaking capacity||30–100 GW, strongly linked to photovoltaics deployment||2–6 hr||Minutes|
|3||Diurnal capacity and energy time shifting||100+ GW; depends on both Phase 2 and deployment of variable renewable energy resources||4–12 hr||Minutes|
|4||Multiday to seasonal capacity and energy time-shifting||Zero to more than 250 gigawatts||>12 hr||Minutes|
In the News
The Storage Futures Study is featured in news. Read recent articles and publications that highlight the study.
Supporting Data and Analysis
Under the SFS, researchers are leveraging supporting NREL data and analyses to study energy storage technologies at unprecedented scale:
Technical Review Committee
To develop and refine the highest priorities, the SFS partners with a technical review committee, including the University of Maryland, Stanford University, Argonne National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, NextEra Analytics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, New York Independent System Operator, Fluence Energy, Carnegie Mellon University, First Solar, Imperial College- London, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, U.S. Energy Information Agency, and Xcel Energy.