What’s powering renewable energy adoption? 3/3

Powering Utility-Scale Energy Storage 

Rolling blackouts are a reality for many people in states like California and Texas. When demand for energy is high, such as during extreme temperatures, power grids are placed under immense stress which may lead to rolling blackouts. 

As the adoption of EVs continues to scale, power grids will endure more stress as people require electricity to charge their vehicles. While V2G creates a way to reduce the load power grids experience during peak hours, battery innovations are providing more powerful solutions to this problem. 

Since 2011, battery storage capacity has grown 18 fold and utility-scale battery capacity is expected to grow by 84% in 2022 alone. Utility-scale lithium-ion battery costs are expected to fall by 52% from 2018 to 2030 and energy storage costs are also expected to fall by at least 52% by 2030. These improvements are enabling companies and utilities to switch to renewable energy solutions like solar and wind instead of diesel, coal and natural gas. 

These improvements to utility-scale batteries are making it economically viable for utilities and companies to transition to renewable energy like solar and wind power. Currently, utilities are integrating lithium-ion batteries into their systems as they transition from peaker plans and working with large-scale energy plants that utilize solar and wind power. BloombergNEF found that large-scale solar and wind plants are already cheaper than their coal and gas plant counterparts. 

The impact is not limited to utilities as companies see further incentives to develop new technology that leverages improved battery capacity. General Electric’s Haliade-X wind turbine recently set a new world record by producing 262 MWh of electricity within 24 hours – enough to power up to 30,000 households in the area. 

Other companies that are leveraging the increase in battery capacity include Tesla and hospitals. Tesla is building a 100 MW energy storage system located outside of Houston that can power up to 20,000 homes. Hospitals are also switching from diesel generators to energy storage systems. 

Utility-scale battery capacity is galvanizing companies to switch to renewable energy solutions. As storage continues to expand, power grids will be able to handle the increased energy demand caused by EV adoption and more. 

Batteries are powering renewable energy adoption

Batteries, especially lithium-ion ones, are at the core of renewable energy adoption. Battery improvements enable companies to create affordable EVs with 300-mile driving ranges which address key consumer concerns. They also allow V2G technology to reduce the load on power grids during peak hours and incentivize school districts to transition to electric buses. Finally, they create opportunities for utility companies to switch from coal and gas plants to lithium-ion battery storage with solar and wind power plants.  

The importance of batteries for a renewable energy future is prominent throughout the world. A joint study by the International Energy Agency and European Patent Office found that batteries account for nearly 90% of global patent activity in the area of electric storage. The progress of battery technology is not only driving adoption, it is incentivizing companies to invest in future research and development around renewable energy and transitioning to more renewable sources like wind and solar power. While there is still more innovation necessary to reach a fully renewable energy future, batteries are a key catalyst propelling the industry forward.  

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