Japan’s government recently hinted that it would seek to address the Achille’s heel of renewable energy from intermittent sources, such as solar and wind, by further opening up the power grid to batteries.
As national energy strategy points to ever-increasing amounts of renewables in the power mix, the issue of balancing the grid is becoming much more important, both in order to accommodate more green electricity and for energy security.
Despite the current legislative grey zone around batteries, the market for storage is already starting to take off, partly driven by declining costs. Early adopters in Japan have installed about 400,000 battery units as of FY2020, creating the sector almost from scratch in the last five years. Cumulative capacity in commercial and industrial battery applications could see the market more than double over the current decade, METI forecasts show.
Still, while current and future uses are well-defined on paper, regulations are still being discussed especially around the entirely new niche of freestanding batteries. The latter could create new types of business models and players in the power market once their place in the system is defined.