Groundhog Day For Energy Storage: Energy Storage Marketers’ Top Five Wish List

Do you ever feel like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, waking up day after day to the same routine, running into the same people and having the same conversations? Well, that was me at the Energy Storage Association 27th Annual Conference. How, you might ask?

At the ESA event I posed the same two survey questions to every one of the 20+ vendor marketing and product people I had appointments with. At times it felt like it was Groundhog Day, as marketers hit on many of the same themes in their answers repeatedly, over and over in the course of the two-day event.

Suffice to say, misery loves company when it comes to the fractured and very nascent distributed electric energy storage marketplace. The two questions and the top five themed replies to each were:

  1. What is the number one challenge holding back more rapid growth in the energy storage market?
  1. Lack of both quantity and depth of success stories being shared in the market
  2. The diffuse range of value propositions and stakeholders
  3. Lack of regulatory clarity and direction on rates and utility guidelines
  4. High relative upfront costs
  5. Lack of market understanding and education
  1. If you had one wish and could change one thing about this industry today, what would it be?
  1. Transparent national energy policy
  2. More utilities getting out of storage project pilotitis and into commercial production
  3. Donald Trump gets impeached
  4. Make storage mandatory wherever it provides value and efficiency
  5. Clear and transparent technical and valuation standards

These can be summed up by saying that energy storage marketers desperately seek more supportive regulatory guidance and rules; more utility human and financial capital support for energy storage innovation; better standards and markets that reflect the full value energy storage can provide to the grid of the future.

One of these days, the energy storage market “groundhog” is not going to see his shadow and we’ll finally see a real spring in the market. Just like Bill Murray, energy storage marketers dream about a future where these basic growth roadblocks cleared. Only then will the energy storage market hit a growth inflection point that today’s investors and suppliers so desperately seek.

According to movie buffs, Bill Murray spent about 9 years stuck in the town portrayed in the movie Groundhog Day. After more than ten years researching and supporting marketing in energy storage I have to say I feel sympathy for Bill’s plight. But investors in the energy storage market in North America don’t have nine years. As recent bankruptcies show, the investment capital that has fueled the energy storage market is already starting to run out of patience. Bill Murray is funny, but the challenges of energy storage are not.

Bill Murray

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