The competition is heating up in the energy industry to become the market disruptor in an international game energy storage development.

A disruptor is a product or service that takes root at the bottom of a market initially in simple applications and then relentlessly begins to grow market share, eventually displacing established competitors.

Apparently, there is no deficit of bold ideas, bold companies, or bold investors willing to venture into the energy storage market. Energy storage market analysts Logan Goldie-Scot at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and Brett Simon of GTM Research have identified the top 20 companies to watch in the race to take over the energy storage market. Goldie-Scot identifies the winning combination as “potential to scale, innovation, and momentum”.

The winning combination: “potential to scale, innovation, and momentum”

The Achilles heel for most renewables (e.g., solar and wind) is the need to store energy for downtimes when the power source is unavailable. If renewable energy is ever to be a viable alternative to fossil fuel, two things need to be accomplished cost-effectively: long duration storage capacity and behind the meter grid-scale aggregation. Cost-effective solutions will mean clean energy delivered reliably on a large scale.

A look at the list of 20 companies suggests there may be opportunities for multiple winners because these businesses are taking bold action to address one or both of these issues.  The list includes newcomers to the stationary storage market like Tesla; newcomers are competing with veterans like Panasonic and NGK. Companies are betting on different technologies (e.g., flow batteries or NaS batteries), different target markets (e.g., residential, commercial, micro-grid, or utility), or different business models (e.g., direct sales or energy savings sharing) to win the game.

Investors are betting heavily on both veteran companies and newcomers promising to bring cost-competitive solutions to the market. GTM Research recently announced that investment in energy storage investment had reached $660 million in the third quarter for 2016.  BNEF projects the market to reach $250 billion by 2040.

According to Goldie-Scot and Simon, in this race to the top, these bold innovators are the 20 energy storage disruptors to bet on.