Christopher Maara, Lead Analyst at Investment & Research, is our expert for this week’s edition of the Analyst Q&A series.
Investment & Research (I&R) is an independent company engaged in providing professional business intelligence and company information across various industries, on a global scale and nationwide. I&R’s industry research covers more than 100 countries worldwide and 22 industry verticals, with a special focus on emerging markets.
Christopher discusses 5G technology, the biggest challenges facing the CAES market, the increasing demand for pumped hydro and much more.
Q. What have been the most important developments in the telecommunications infrastructure market in recent years? How will these developments guide the industry in the coming years and what can we expect to see?
The move towards 5G technology will see increased investment in telecommunications infrastructure in 2017 and into 2018, as well as the need to upgrade internet connectivity and speed and improve network stability. Globally the state of the industry’s infrastructure varies greatly, some developed countries are finding themselves lagging behind in terms implementing the latest telecommunications technology, but are shutting down 2G networks, while some developing countries are already deploying 5G, but still have to maintain 2G networks due to the large number of feature/legacy phones still in operation. Should the price of (smart) mobile phones continue to drop further to less than $20 we should see greater investment in 4G and 5G.
Q. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the global compressed air energy storage market in 2017? How will the unique siting requirements of traditional underground CAES limit the technology’s outlook?
CAES technology is well established though not widely deployed. The biggest challenge is finding suitable locations (caverns) where sites can be developed. Another challenge is challenge is more competitive and emerging technologies that are quicker to develop. An opportunity for CAES could be in utilizing decommissioned offshore oil and gas fields this could provide an avenue for future growth.
Q. What advantages do GEBS technologies provide over other established, emerging and competing technologies? Are there any technologies close to entering into commercial production both for residential and industrial uses in 2017?
Grid scale batteries are still a relatively young energy storage technology, despite batteries having been around for decades. The main advantages is that they can be quickly deployed, they are easily scalable, and can be combined with renewable or fossil generation technologies there is also a wide range of electrochemical compositions to choose from.
Some of these compositions are now ready for commercial production for both residential and industrial use, however cost per kWh still remains relatively high compared to more established storage technologies and their lifespan is also short when compared to pumped hydro. However we expect to see a rapid decline in price over the next decade as increasing deployment of renewables and ageing grids will drive investment into GEBS technology.
Q. Are you seeing an increase in the demand for pumped hydro storage? How is this demand being affected by factors like the growing penetration of renewables?
There is increasing demand for pumped hydro, especially in Europe and North America, this is renewed demand is primarily due to the increase of renewable energy generation sources. The intermittent nature of these generation sources means there is greater need for grid stabilization and more system flexibility. The fact that the technology is mature, proven and commercial utility-scale already in use around the world make it more appealing than other competing technologies.
Q. What other industry do you find the most interesting outside of the ones you cover? Have you ever considered covering this industry (why/why not)?
There are several industries that look promising across the globe. Fintech is one of them this industry is growing rapidly and evolving on daily basis, another is sports betting especially in developing countries this has seen a great deal interest and investment in some cases growing at over 60% annually. These are industries we are considering to cover in the future.
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About the Interviewee:
Christopher Maara is the Lead Analyst at Investment & Research, he has over seven years’ experience in as a research analysts primarily in renewable energy, oil & gas, plastics, telecommunications and country risk analysis.