Lithium ion battery industry to boom with wind, solar power

Report says auto industry breakthroughs will provide the alternative energy sector with power storage solution.

Lithium ion batteries used as energy storage for utilities will be a $1 billion industry by 2018, according to a report released Wednesday by Pike Research called "Energy Storage Technology Markets."

Much of the lithium ion battery development has been geared toward perfecting the batteries as power sources for electronics, and in recent years, cars. But the alternative energy industry is going to benefit from that research, too. Once that happens, there will be a surge in the sales of industrial-scale lithium ion batteries for power utilities, according to Pike research.

"Utilities will be the downstream beneficiaries of innovation and investment in lithium ion batteries for the transportation sector," Pike Research analyst David Link said in a statement.

The energy storage industry in general is poised to grow as more private and public organizations embrace wind and solar energy worldwide. Because wind and solar systems provide energy in bursts and their cycles are not usually in sync with local peak energy usage hours, power storage when using wind or solar will become an obvious necessity for utilities, according to Pike Research.

Out of eleven methods of energy storage, Pike Research found that lithium ion batteries for utility use will be the fastest growing segment of the storage industry.

Sodium Sulfur (NAS) batteries and kinetic storage systems like pumped hydro and Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) were seen as the next likely leading utility energy storage solutions.

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