U.S. Grid Energy Storage Market to Reach 4 GW by 2016, Driving an Increase in Copper Demand

The projected increase in the U.S. market for grid energy storage devices could result in an increase in the demand for copper over the next five years according to a market study by KEMA, conducted for the Copper Development Association, Inc.

The future U.S. grid energy storage market value is forecasted to reach between two and four gigawatts in size by 2016. This forecast is based on KEMA’s analysis of today’s most promising grid energy storage applications, which include ancillary services, renewable energy integration, transmission support, and community energy services. KEMA estimates that the incremental demand in copper due to growth in the U.S. grid storage market over the next five years could reach from roughly 900 to over 3,000 tons of copper.

The recently released study also concludes that the copper intensity of storage installations appears to be significant though varied, ranging from zero to over four tons per megawatt. The copper intensity depends on the installation configuration, type of electrical equipment, and storage technology type. Zolaikha Strong, director of Sustainable Energy at the CDA, stated that, “Copper has the potential to play a significant role in the U.S. market, largely due to the electrical equipment used to integrate technologies and also due to the intensity of the devices themselves.” Rick Fioravanti, vice president, Storage Applications & Support at KEMA, said, “Though several storage applications are likely to develop over time, we see these areas as the primary applications for growth in the near term.” According to the study, near-term growth in the grid energy storage market is expected in part due to past investments and to the emergence of new policies that are likely to open the market for energy storage.