Poster Paper: Battery Energy Storage Adoption Rates and Electric Industry Restructuring

Friday, April 12, 2019
Continuing Education Building - Room 2070 - 2090 (University of California, Irvine)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Sara Mulhauser, UC Berkeley, Goldman School of Public Policy; UC Berkeley, College of Natural Resources, Energy & Resources Group

The Energy Information Administration's (EIA) US Battery Storage Market Trends report of 2018 provides analysis on battery storage diffusion status across different Independent System Operators (ISOs), focusing on power and energy capacity, location, timing, and technical application. The report does not explore in any depth the ownership of battery storage assets, only outlining that 45% of the energy capacity is owned by Independent Power Producers (IPPs), 40% by Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs), and the remainder is owned by publicly-owned utilities, and commercial or industrial end-users.

This research proposes to examine the relationships between the structure of the utilities that battery energy storage projects are located in, and several important characteristics of the projects, in order to better understand the level of variation of types of projects, and what may be encouraging them. The aim of this research is to better inform policy makers about the nature of the early diffusion in this industry, so as to guide future efforts to encourage next stages of diffusion responsibly.

In the first stage of analysis I will look at electro-chemical storage projects in the DOE Energy Storage Database, categorizing all utilities with projects as either vertically-integrated, partially restructured, fully restructured, or publicly-owned. I will then develop summary statistics for these categories for some of the same characteristics as the EIA study (such as: energy capacity, power capacity, technical applications), while adding asset ownership and financing method.

Second stage analysis will ideally pursue both of the following:

  1. Research and categorize projects as responsive to one our more drivers:
    1. Policy Tools
      1. Mandates
      2. Incentives
    2. Market Signals
    3. Operational Needs

Then analyze the effectiveness of these drivers based on current diffusion rates.

  1. Some IOUs nationwide are moving forward with battery energy storage development efforts absent of/ahead of agency mandates, some are not. I am interested in outlining how these regulated IOUs use their unregulated subsidiary organizations to do this, and what that says about IOUs striving to learn more about new technology (or what some other motivations might be).