Report Finds North Carolina is Well-Positioned for Battery Storage Growth

18 Nov 2020

 A new report released by Audubon North Carolina shows just how well-positioned the state is to grow its battery storage industry. Called “Battery Storage: North Carolina’s Footprint in the Global Value Chain,” the report analyzes data from across North Carolina, identifying companies with 1,200 locations in the state that have the potential to do business in the battery storage space. These companies represent 160,000 workers and $45 billion in sales, and can be found across the state, from Morganton to Jacksonville.

“Battery storage is a critical step toward a cleaner energy future for North Carolina, but it also makes good business sense,” said Andrew Hutson, Audubon North Carolina executive director. “Costs are falling, demand is rising, and North Carolina is primed to see this industry take flight. That’s good news for electricity costs and reliability, but it also means less harmful carbon pollution and cleaner air and water that birds and people rely on.” 

Battery storage is an important technology because it allows for the use of clean energy even when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. It diversifies the grid, making it more reliableduring extreme weather, natural disasters, and other outages. It also reduces the need for inefficient, expensive power during peak hours, increasing efficiency and lowering costs. 

The report consists of a lithium ion battery storage value chain analysis conducted by Lukas Brun, PhD, and Gary Gereffi, PhD, Duke University researchers. The study analyzed companies that currently work in the battery storage value chain in North Carolina, and companies that could potentially participate. These are businesses that work, at least in part, in the development, manufacturing, and operations of battery storage, or could in the future. 

North Carolina’s current presence in the battery storage value chain includes companies with 270 locations in the state, representing sales of $9.5 billion. The report doesn’t specify the proportion ofemployment and sales directly related to battery storage. But if only 10 percent of total sales are part of the battery storage value, that equates to a $1 billion sector. 

Clean energy is a major economic driver in our state. All 100 counties have clean energy jobs and employment growth in the industry is double that of statewide employment growth. North Carolina is a national leader in clean energy, ranking second in installed solar, but is at risk of falling behind in battery storage. The state is outside of the top ten in this industry. While this report focuses on the battery storage value chain, rather than installed battery storage, growing North Carolina’s battery storage industry would help bring more storage onto the grid. 

“In North Carolina, we know firsthand what bipartisan energy policy combined with our state’s positive business climate can do—it brings jobs, innovation, billions in investments, and cleaner air and water,” said Zach Wallace, Audubon North Carolina policy manager. “Battery storage is North Carolina’s next big clean energy opportunity, and now is the time to seize it.” 

Audubon looks forward to working with partners, policymakers, and utility companies to help battery storage and the clean energy economy grow in our state. 

Audubon North Carolina | http://www.nc.audubon.organd