Energy Storage: A Northeast Ohio Strength

Over the last several years, innovators throughout the world have made significant advancements in the area of energy storage. Much like it sounds, energy storage refers to the capture of energy to be used at a later time. Given the world’s ever-increasing demand for energy, the shift from fossil-fuels to more renewable but sometimes intermittent energy sources, regulatory policy changes and a heightened interest in smart grids and electric vehicles, investment in energy storage technologies is on the rise. As the energy storage market continues to grow, Northeast Ohio is well-positioned to take advantage of this emerging market as it develops its own energy storage cluster. Ultimately, Northeast Ohio’s cluster seeks to leverage the region’s unique strengths and assets, with the goal of enhancing the region’s economy over time.

Energy Storage Growth

As researchers and innovators continue to invest their time and resources, the energy storage market is growing rapidly. In fact, a study by the market research group IHS estimated that the U.S. energy storage market will grow from about 90 megawatts (MW) today to 900 MW by 2019.  Energy storage deployments in the U.S. grew from 61MW to 220MW between 2014 and 2015.

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Projections for the industry’s growth are equally impressive as the below chart illustrates. By all accounts, energy storage is a large market opportunity with a significant annual growth rate.

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Northeast Ohio’s Energy Storage Cluster

Recognizing the opportunity energy storage represents on a national and global scale, leaders throughout Northeast Ohio have begun forming an energy storage cluster. With 40% of Ohio’s energy storage related organizations located in Northeast Ohio, our region is well-positioned to be a center of innovation in this growing field. As such, in October of 2015, Team NEO, Case Western Reserve University, FirstEnergy and NASA Glenn hosted the cluster’s first event, attracting more than 150 attendees. During the first meeting, the dialogue focused on creating a regional ecosystem that would support energy storage and integration for the grid, transportation, and air and space applications.

Since the initial meeting, a group of about 50 energy storage experts have continued to meet to further develop the region’s Energy Storage Cluster. Organizers hope that the cluster will aid in the development and delivery of quality, timely needed products and services to the marketplace while growing jobs and revenue for the region. As important, energy storage will help decrease our region’s carbon footprint. In other words, the goal of the cluster is to grow and strengthen the energy storage sector for the benefit of Northeastern Ohio, economically and environmentally.

Energy Storage Potential in Northeast Ohio

As Team NEO develops the region’s Energy Storage Cluster, it sees great economic opportunity. In fact, through its Innovation Team, Team NEO has mapped the region’s energy storage industry and its supply chain, focusing on matching existing assets (manufacturers, suppliers, research institutions and skilled workers) to potential market opportunities. Through this process, Team NEO identified $21.1 billion in available market opportunities for Northeast Ohio’s energy storage industry, which could add up to 2,350 new jobs by 2018. Four focus areas have the most significant growth opportunities and regional competitive advantages: lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion cell materials, flow batteries, and distributed energy storage systems. While much work remains, Team NEO is encouraged by the growth potential it sees in energy storage and its implications for Northeast Ohio’s economy.

Getting Involved in the Cluster

Northeast Ohio’s Energy Storage Cluster will meet again on October 26 from 2pm – 5pm at Case Western Reserve University. If you are interested in attending the next meeting or would like to learn more about the Cluster, please contact Team NEO’s Bill Hagstrand. You can also find additional information by clicking here.