Stationary energy storage is a transformation grid management asset that has the ability to both absorb and inject energy, acting as both a generator and consumer of power. However, despite significant system cost reduction progress, there remain few profitable avenues for stationary storage. The industry’s development has been hampered by limited and regionally specific pathways to consistent revenue streams. While there are some early market examples of profitable applications, policymakers and stakeholders have not come to a consensus on how to value the multitude of services storage can provide. Further complicating the landscape, the value of these services fluctuates with a battery’s location, grid domain, and end application. We find that there is not a single “killer app” for energy storage, but rather several applications and combinations of applications that yield profitable systems, depending on the system cost. Moreover, we identify that power-focused applications provide the best near term path to profitability, but that profitability will remain regionally specific, with developers relying on advanced software management to enable application stacking and virtual power plants. Going forward, policy certainty will be required across all grid domains for energy storage to be deployed as both a centralized and distributed energy resource.
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