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Navigating the Landscape of Energy Storage Markets with Dmitri Moundous

December 20, 2023 Battery with lines to represent power generation for UNC Cleantech Summit blog post topic

To facilitate the transition towards a zero-carbon future with increased reliance on renewable energy sources, the adoption of energy storage is imperative. Its cost-competitive nature and its capability to balance grid requirements as a dispatchable resource make it a key player in this transition. I recently had the privilege of speaking with Mr. Dmitri Moundous about his involvement in a 2024 UNC Cleantech Summit panel discussion titled “How to Grow Energy Storage Markets,” where he brings over 15 years of industry experience. Dmitri currently serves as the Director of Cypress Creek Renewables’ energy storage commercial strategy.

We began the discussion with an overview of factors driving energy storage markets to which he stated that on the supply side, the mature supply chain of lithium-ion batteries is contributing to cost reduction occurring simultaneously with a surge in demand, driven by IRA incentives and the increasing commitments of corporations and utilities to decarbonization efforts. Dmitri drew a focus on lithium-ion battery storage because it is technologically mature and driven by grid needs for 2, 4, and 6-hour durations.

Diversifying Battery Storage

As Dmitri spoke on the present lithium-ion battery technology, he underscored the challenges linked to this technology, emphasizing the price fluctuations driven by foreign policy issues involving China, as the majority of manufacturers are based there. Energy storage markets will be propelled by policies like IRA incentives for domestic manufacturing contributing to the diversification of types of storage and decreasing dependency on lithium-ion batteries.

To grow storage markets, Dmitri underscores the need for policies that can stabilize prices. The ability to commercialize storage is intricately tied to capital costs, with lithium prices playing a significant role, and these prices are heavily influenced by the inadequately diversified supply chain existing today. Foreign policy is a major factor that has and will continue to affect the volatility of battery materials.

How Do We Grow Energy Storage Markets?

Markets prioritize day-to-day flexibility, which is why short-term solutions are market-driven. However, if markets were to factor in extended periods of severe weather events, the rationale for long-duration storage would become apparent. As global warming escalates, the frequency of prolonged severe weather events is expected to rise. To bolster grid reliability and resilience, diversifying peaking resources becomes imperative, encompassing not only coal and gas but also embracing longer-duration storage technologies.

In addition to the federal incentives established by the IRA to foster the expansion of energy storage markets, Dmitri provides insights into the potential contributions of states to this growth. States may exhibit hesitancy, influenced by their existing legislation in support of renewables or the perception that adequate measures have been taken at the federal level. Dmitri underscores that the North Carolina Carbon Plan stands out as a compelling investment signal for market expansion. This plan delineates ambitious targets, aiming for a 70% reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. To meet these goals, Duke Energy is required to adopt diverse procurement methods, including energy storage.

As our conversation concluded I asked Dmitri what he was most looking forward to in terms of energy storage in NC. He hopes to see some storage get built and as utilities and grid operators accumulate experience and confidence with these adaptable resources, it will catalyze broader adoption and foster market expansion.


This article was written by Cleo Carter, a UNC Cleantech Corner Initiative intern.

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