Cheaper Batteries Spell Problems for Load Management
- Dec 21, 2020 4:47 pm GMT
Battery costs are falling dramatically. In theory, they still are too expensive to allow for true cost parity between electric vehicles and traditional internal combustion engine cars. I say ‘in theory’ because many EV’s coming out now actually are priced competitively with other cars in their class. The Tesla Model 3, for example, starts at just under $38,000 and features many luxury features found in cars above that price point. According to recent statements coming out of the Electric Power Research Institute, it’s possible that costs for battery packs will drop from about $120-200/kWh to $80kWh by 2030. If that happens, EVs may boast cheaper cost of ownership ratings than their fossil fueled counterparts.
Assuming human behavior holds steady, a big transition to electric will send demand skyrocketing. Making matters worse, this will all be happening as we transition away from easily scaled fossil fuel sources to more finicky renewables.
So how will we handle this apparent load imbalance? One option is to pull the brakes on renewables. This is already happening. The Colorado Air Quality Control Commision just halted a plan to close three coal plants ahead of schedule for feasibility reasons, for example. Beyond merely side-stepping carbon neutral alternatives, technological innovation—from better batteries to sophisticated energy efficiency programs—may make renewables in an electrified world possible. I’m hoping for the latter.