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How far can batteries go?

image credit: Gavin Mooney
Gavin  Mooney's picture
Country manager - Australia, powercloud

Hi, my name is Gavin Mooney. Thanks for stopping by. I help utilities transform the way they run and embrace the energy transition with powercloud. Feel free to reach out, I am always up for...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Mar 3, 2023

As recently as a few years ago, grid-scale battery storage was widely considered too expensive to be rolled out at significant scale.

But plummeting prices have changed all that. Lithium-ion battery storage costs have fallen from $1,200/kWh in 2010 to $151 in 2022, according to BloombergNEF.

Countries around the world are now ramping up energy storage. China plans to install more than 30 GW by 2025, an 8x increase on what it currently has. In the US, 4GW of battery storage was added in 2022, nearly matching the 4.7GW that had been installed in previous years.

By the end of 2023, global battery storage will have more than doubled in 3 years to 37 GW, according to the latest data from Global Data. By 2030 it is expected to hit 354 GW.

BNEF has it even higher, at 411 GW by 2030.

However, neither of these projections is enough to meet the 610 GW the IEA says is needed to be on track for net zero.

Having said that, these sorts of projections have a habit of underestimating the speed of the transition. In 2022 BNEF itself more than doubled its estimates for energy storage deployments from 2025 to 2030 across Europe compared with previous forecasts.

The current rise in raw material prices is also not expected to be an issue. "We expect battery prices to remain in the same range in 2023, and from 2024, we are going to start to see a decline again."

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Mar 6, 2023

Thanks for this. Startling numbers! I guess the answer is «pretty darn far».

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Mar 6, 2023

It has always been the holy grail of energy and the GRID. We now have lots of new battery chemistry like sodium iron and Lithium Sulfur that are showing longer life and lower cost as well as fire resistance.

    So Renewable Energy and more storage will grow as needed until we have a safe sustainable world. 

Peter Farley's picture
Peter Farley on Mar 11, 2023

I suspect the need for batteries is far less than the IEA projects, South Australia is running at 80% renewables with no biomass, no hydro, no pumped hydro no significant demand response and enough Batteries to supply8% of peak demand for an hour. Similarly, Denmark is at 70%+ with very little storage or hydro. Smart charging of EVs and hot water/ice storage will end up providing more storage than dedicated batteries 

Richard Ellenbogen's picture
Richard Ellenbogen on Mar 13, 2023

Figures can be misleading.  Denmark imported 20.1 TWh of electricity last year, up 2 TWh from the year before.  That is 17% of their total consumption.

Australia's utility system is only about 28% renewable so South Australia can import energy during a renewable shortfall.  It doesn't make them GHG free, especially when most of the imported energy is from coal.

Gavin  Mooney's picture
Thank Gavin for the Post!
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