Imagine having an energy system that generates three times more electricity we use today for a fraction of the cost (even free!) while generating no greenhouse gases or toxic waste. Imagine repatriating and growing energy-hungry industries, creating millions of jobs, trillions of dollars in societal wealth, and vastly improving our quality of life — while saving money. Incumbents would say it’s not possible. We have heard that before — but they’ve been proven wrong and we’ve been proven right. We are on the cusp of the most profound disruption of the energy sector since the advent of electricity itself over a century ago. The costs of solar photovoltaic power, onshore wind, and lithium-ion battery energy storage (SWB) have plummeted over the last two decades, and they will fall another 70%, 40% and 80% respectively during the 2020s as their adoption continues to grow exponentially worldwide. The convergence of SWB now offers an electricity solution that coal, gas, nuclear and other conventional energy technologies can no longer compete with. In our new report, we show that 100% SWB electricity systems are both physically possible and economically affordable by 2030 for those regions that choose to lead the disruption. Our analysis uses a tool we call the “Clean Energy U-Curve” to explain that there is a fundamental cost tradeoff between energy generation (solar and wind) and energy storage (batteries). When we optimize the balance between the two, we find that the least expensive 100% SWB system will have three to five times more total generating capacity than today’s grid but require only 35 to 90 hours’ worth of batteries, depending on geography.
Utility Dive 5th Nov 2020 read more »