Renewables + Storage beats out Gas Generation
- May 5, 2021 8:53 pm GMT
Bill McKibben’s April 28th The New Yorker weekly column “The Climate Crisis”, citing Carbon Tracker’s April 2021 “The Sky’s the Limit” report, that finds globally, solar and wind are a huge new cheap energy resource, is good news. The report states that the fossil fuel era is over, and that by the mid 2030s solar and wind will have pushed fossil fuels out of the electricity sector, and out of total energy supply by 2050.
McKibben writes, “The numbers in the report are overwhelming—even if the analysts are too optimistic by half, we’ll still be swimming in cheap solar energy.”
While cheap renewables are great, the sticking point with wind and solar pushing out fossil fuels – notably gas -- has been its intermittent nature. Cheap is only as good as reliable. Equally impressive as the price drops in renewables are the tech breakthroughs in battery storage. When paired with wind and solar, renewables now walk and talk and like gas generation in cost and performance. So much so, that increasingly wind and solar paired battery storage beats out gas gen. Why, some recent boots on the ground data shows renewables plus storage costing less than the operating cost of new gas generation. And, stand-alone storage is approaching cost-effectiveness as new peaking capacity.
This means that as coal retires (and please coal, hurry it up!), it is renewables and storage, not gas generation, that should take coal’s place. But there are plenty – gas industry, utilities, consultants – blocking this progress with misinformation and un-truths. This is tragic as there is no lack of talent and resources to make renewables happen.
The only thing we are short on is time.
Living in Washington State 2016-2020, I witnessed incredible misinformation on renewables, storage, and gas gen. Recently, a December 17, 2020 Utility Dive article “PNW poised to test 100% renewables as utilities weight gas vs. storage”, cited an E3 consulting report finding gas generation are least cost and needed for PNW reliability as the underlying basis for the uncertainty utilities and policymakers are facing in moving away from gas generation. https://lnkd.in/gbDyzzd. I did a deep dive into E3’s work and found -- to state it nicely -- that it is outdated and flawed. To read my report, go to www.renewablenw.org/news.
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