Large-scale Energy Storage In Focus

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I recently came across an interesting report released in June by the Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based environmental think-tank, on large-scale electricity storage. The ability (or lack thereof) of the grid to take in all that new renewable power ranks as one of the main near-term risks to the growth of the alt energy sector, and cost-effective storage could go a long way in alleviating grid concerns. The report outlines the main technological options for storage along with their strengths and weaknesses. Although I wish there was more information on the costs of these technologies, as this is currently the main barrier to their deployment, I found the technological overview useful. Some of you may remember an article I wrote about Beacon Power over a year and a half ago. I have since exited my position in Beacon (on October 16, 2008, at $2.02) because (a) I wanted to put the money to work elsewhere and (b) I was happy with my gain. This is somewhat unfortunate as I had claimed in the original article that I intended on holding this stock for a long period of time. However, my belief in the eventual emergence of the storage sector remains as strong as ever. The main difference now with the time I wrote this article is that things are starting to move on the regulatory front with large-scale storage, and we could soon see incentive programs directed at this industry. This is, in my view, a sector to keep a close eye on. Last August, Tom wrote about investment opportunities related to large-scale storage, and we will address this topic further in future times.

DISCLOSURE: The author does not have a position in the stock discussed in this article


  1. Well, I read your article, and have been slowly increasing my BCON positions since then. I’ll be talking about energy storage (and Beacon) in my article scheduled for this Sunday.

  2. I’ve been searching the world looking for suitable storage for wind farms and have been looking at the Japan stock of NGK Insulators because of the enviro-friendly storage components of Sodium/Sulfur. My problem has been finding anyone out there that has taken a look at it. I know Vestas has been testing large (5MW) installations, but I can’t find results. Could you address this?


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