Batteries

Published on January 31st, 2015 | by Giles Parkinson

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Citigroup Predicts Battery Storage Will Hasten Demise Of Fossil Fuels

January 31st, 2015 by  

Originally published on RenewEconomy.

Investment bank says wide deployment of battery storage will hasten the demise of fossil fuels and utilities that remain focused on centralised generation. It tips rapid fall in costs and a $400bn storage market by 2030.

citi-report-300x271Investment bank Citigroup predicts that the wide deployment of battery storage technologies will hasten the demise of fossil fuels across the globe in the coming decade, including oil, coal and gas.

And it also warns that the battery phenomenom will be even more profound than the solar revolution currently sweeping the globe, and will sweep aside any traditional utilities that remain focused on centralised generation.

The predictions of Citigroup analysts are a reprise of predictions it made in August last year, when it predicted that battery storage costs could fall to around $230/kWh by 2020, and eventually be as low as $150/kWh. The global market for battery storage could be worth more than $400 billion by 2030.

The significance of its latest update is that these forecasts, and their potential impacts, are included as part of its analysis of the 10 major investment themes for 2015.

The issue is therefor rapidly moving beyond those with a narrow focus on utilities and energy markets, it is now part of mainstream financial thinking, and because of that will have a profound influence on capital flows across the globe.

Citi says improvements in battery storage both in terms of operational performance and economic terms should expand and accelerate the trend for corporates and households to become self-sufficient in terms of electricity generation.

It cites six areas where fossil fuels and traditional utilities focused on centralised generation are at risk.

These are

  1. Renewables: Storage would reduce both the cost of intermittency and the physical grid constraints that prevent deeper renewables penetration. The result would be a boost to the growth of renewables.
  1. Coal: If storage can be competitively used to “firm” intermittent resources, renewables can become a true substitute for baseload generation. In many markets, baseload is dominated by coal-fired power. And because of growing policy pressure to displace coal in markets ranging from the US to China, policy is likely to emphasize the substitution of firm renewables for coal-fired generation.
  1. Oil: Where oil is still used in the global power sector, it is often used in a peaking capacity. If storage is also deployed as a utility-scale peak shaving asset, storage might start to push out the stubborn oil-based generation still holding on as peaking capacity.
  1. Natural gas: In the near to medium term, natural gas’s complementarity with renewables makes gas a winner in any scenario with increased renewables, as gas continues to be the best option to balance intermittency in many places. But it too would pose challenges to the utility model in many countries, as any former base load fuel supply would bring lower returns to the utility based on lost peak/ high priced demand load.
  1. Gasoline: If storage were developed that promoted the growth of electric vehicles, this would significantly erode gasoline demand let alone demand growth, which, along with strong North American production of oil and gas, would put pressure on oil prices.
  1. The structure of power markets: Electricity is one of the few non-storable commodities. Large scale storage could change that, linking spot prices to forward prices in a transformation that would make electricity markets trade more like oil or gas markets. The implications for power forward curves and asset finance would be significant.

Picking the winners in battery storage is a bit more complicated, because – like the solar industry – battery makers will be squeezed by severe pricing pressure from users on the demand side, and unavoidably high procurement costs on the supply side.

That means that profits will come from new business models, away from the simple sales of hardware, towards a service model that includes after-market services, in the same way that the biggest profits are being made in the solar leasing business rather than manufacturing.

Citi says the storage battery market is likely to develop as an infrastructure business that involves the supply of services and solutions, not just hardware and the winners will be those who come up with solutions that increase the convenience for users and make a long-term commitment to infrastructure.

It says that the rise of distributed solar generation and battery storage does not necessarily mean the death of the utility model.

It notes, for instance, that energy distributors could be well placed, as SA Power networks recently suggested. But those who rely on the dispatch of power generators in the grid are at risk. This is partly behind the thinking of European utility giant E.ON and NRG in the US in adapting their business models.

“Our key takeaway is that US utilities will eventually adapt and join the party,” the Citi analysts write.

“Why? Three main reasons include 1) it makes economic sense to do so, 2) it helps diversity the utilities fuel mix to help insulate them from volatility and 3) it is a good hedge against upcoming EPA environmental legislation.”

In its report last year, Citigroup suggested that many countries would be at “grid parity” for solar systems with battery storage by 2030, including Australia, parts of the US, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Portugal, while Japan, South Korea and the UK may not be far away.

Its latest report underlines the main themes that are likely to influence battery storage.

Chief among these is the potential of a global and binding agreement on greenhouse gas emissions being reach in December at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. That would require a bigger push for energy efficiency, demand response, renewables and e-mobility, making battery storage a crucial piece of the energy system puzzle.

But even if that agreement was not reached, new environmental targets in the US, and battery storage mandates in the US (over and above the 1.3GW plan for California) will drive deployment.

And on the technology front, the increased penetration of electric vehicles should continue to push down the cost of batteries for cars with parallel effects for energy systems battery costs.

It cited projects such as Tesla’s Giga-factory in Nevada with plans for 2020 battery production (in GWh) from that plant alone to exceed today’s global production. Over and above this, a number of independent companies all have ambitious commercial plans.

“The more they grow in customer numbers and partnerships, the more likely it is that battery storage costs will be declining,” the analysts write.

Reprinted with permission.





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About the Author

is the founding editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.



  • Bob_Wallace

    Well, one could start with the fact that EOS Energy System is taking orders for their zinc-air batteries priced at $160/kWh. 10,000 cycles.

    Then there’s Panasonic which is currently selling lithium ion batteries to Tesla for $180/kWh. When the new battery plant is up and running projected prices are likely to drop 30% which would put the selling price below $130/kWh. Production is likely to begin in less than two years. Some of that production is aimed at grid storage.

    Best to be wary when you encounter any Tom Murphy stuff (he’s the source of the lead-acid bit you link). Tom likes to put a heavy thumb on the scale in an attempt to prove that nuclear is the only solution.

    Finally, there’s the Ambri liquid metal battery. We don’t have a price yet but we do have a useful lifespan – 300 years of unlimited cycling.

    At 300 years (109,500 daily cycles) the $/kWh math gets out of shape. Even at $500/kWh the cost per cycle would be very low. Less than half a penny per cycle. A negligible cost for daily cycling. Calculate in the power loss and a kWh of 4 cent wind/solar could be stored and sold on for about 5.5 cents.

    And since the Ambri batteries are made from “dirt cheap” materials as well as requiring very simple manufacturing processing we’re probably looking at the lowest upfront costs of any storage methodology.

  • Bob_Wallace

    No, I am describing converting an existing dam, some of the 77,500 dams we have in the US which are not used for power generation.

    Yes, hydro is often used as spinning reserve and as dispatchable generation. It’s also possible that we might uprate some of the 2,500 dams we use for power by adding additional/larger turbines, using them fewer hours, but producing more power when we do use them.

    There is no need to remove the top of mountains. All that is needed is a change in elevation over a reasonable distance. A bluff or high valley would be an excellent location for PuHS. One company has already identified seven (IIRC) places PuHS could be build in Utah. Utah, located between Wyoming wind and SoCal demand is in an excellent location for large scale storage. The Intermountain Intertie is already in place and will have lots of spare capacity as coal power will no longer be flowing to the Southwest.

    I suspect we won’t see much PuHS built if liquid flow batteries pan out. Although we might see some for very deep backup but the need for that is a couple decades away.

  • Epicurus

    Listening to the McLaughlin Group on PBS now, and all panelists except Eleanor Clift support drilling in ANWR because clean energy is “too expensive” and thus impractical. Conservatives are still circulating that meme. They live in a different world. When will the inevitability of cheap clean energy dawn on them?

    • Ronald Brakels

      First the investor money dries up. That’s already happened. Then they use their political capital to use taxpayer’s money instead, as was happening in Queensland in Australia with the state government being the only investor in opening a new coal basin. Then those politicians get kicked out as apparently just happened in Queensland, and with their investor money gone and their political capital spent the power of the coal industry will be broken. Oh sure, they won’t go gentle into that good night, but just a few years delay will make their position untenable as renewabe generating capacity expands and makes a comeback imposssible. They will resort to trying to extort taxpayer money in return for closing existing coal mines rather than opening new ones.

      • Epicurus

        “They will resort to trying to extort taxpayer money in return for closing existing coal mines”

        No doubt. That’s their M.O.: socialize the losses, privatize the profits.

        If they try to do that, they deserve to be hung.

        • Solarsurfer2020

          yeah whatever happened to free market innovation and smart business return over ideology and Democracy for that matter? Decentralized media, energy, food & cannabis are changing the landscape rapidly. Let the dinosaurs throw fits while we solve the worlds energy problems and get rich doing good for everyone. win-win-win they are frustrating though- to be honest I never thought I would see innovation at this rate with green ideas going mainstream & making good business sense so fast at scale… thank you Fairchild semiconductor!

  • vacmancan

    This story is good news for Elon Musks “GIGAFACTORY” in Reno!!! Any questions???

  • Epicurus

    When will the Republicans face the inevitability of cheap, clean renewable energy and get on board?

    • mds

      It’s all about the money and the votes. A few already are. As the economic advantage goes more and more to Wind, Solar PV, and Storage they will come. Coal and Oil will be left out in the cold. None will want to stay on the losing team. They won’t have the excessive war chest money any more. Wind, Solar PV, and Storage will.
      Game is already won. Just transitional battles with old-gaurd fools remaining.

      • Gregg Warnock

        You underestimate Wyoming, one of, if not The, largest coal producer in the nation, plus the 2nd Reddest in the nation, the Koch Bros. aren’t going to roll over and play dead either!

      • eveee

        mds – This might interest you.
        New Poll Confirms Mounting Climate Concern As Denier Candidates Twist in the Wind
        http://climatecrocks.com/2015/01/31/new-poll-confirms-climate-concern-as-denier-candidates-twist-in-the-wind/#more-22163

        • Bob_Wallace

          From the link –

          “The poll found that 83 percent of Americans, including 61 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of independents, say that if nothing is done to reduce emissions, global warming will be a very or somewhat serious problem in the future.”

          I was in Bangkok a couple weeks ago. The English news channel choices are Bloomberg and Al Jazeera. In between the two on the dial is Fox. While clicking from one news channel to the other I happened to notice Buffet and Gates along with someone else I didn’t recognize being interviewed. I just caught the last bit but it was Warren and Bill talking about climate change and how we must do more to slow it.

          They got no push-back from the Fox interviewer. I’m thinking that we are probably seeing the end of Republicans being united in denial.

          • Vensonata

            Bob, I have been thinking the same thing, Republicans may try to deny they have been denying. I’ve been looking for confirmation in the media, haven’t found much except the directive to stop using the phrase ” I’m no scientist”. So this is the first inkling that denial doesn’t get votes anymore and the election is coming.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I think we’re seeing a great rush to the center on the part of much of the Republican party. It’s very clear that until the party “get right” with minorities, gays, and younger voters it will have trouble staying in power. White “haters” are becoming a minority.

            I’m seeing the more extreme right-wingers being shoved aside by people like McConnell, who recently joked that Ted Cruz throwing himself under a train to stop Obamacare might not be a bad thing. The power structure is focusing on JEB! as a moderate candidate who has a chance of winning.

            I’m sure that the party will move only as far as it has to move to gain part of the center. Giving up on climate change denial might be one of the easiest gives on their part.

            I guess we should be thankful for any movement away from extremism.

          • Epicurus

            “Giving up on climate change denial might be one of the easiest gives on their part.”

            No, the hardest because they depend on money from the fossil fuel industry. They’ll cave on marriage equality and pot before they cave on climate change.

          • Bob_Wallace

            They’re caving on marriage equality and pot because there’s no large opposition to either any longer. The same is happening with climate change.

            Abortion, fear/hate of Muslims, and gun “rights” are likely to be the issues they hang on to for now.

            “… 61 percent of Republicans … say that if nothing is done to reduce emissions, global warming will be a very or somewhat serious problem in the future.”

            And

            “More than half of the Republicans have stated that they are more likely to support a political candidate who has a firm belief in human-caused global warming and are advocators of the adoption of actions that can go a long way in stopping things that have ill-effects on the environment.”

            http://newstonight.co.za/content/republicans-view-changing-regarding-global-warming#ixzz3QSna1oah

          • Epicurus

            Which of the numerous Republican presidential candidates, major or minor, have publicly declared their belief in the science on climate change AND have declared their support of legislation to combat climate change? None, except for one flip flop by Romney who is no longer a candidate (he says whatever he thinks his audience at the time wants to hear).

          • Bob_Wallace

            I doubt any will. This round.

            It won’t be an overnight flip. Move too far to the center too fast and you can lose the base.

          • Epicurus

            Anyone who declares belief in ACC won’t be able to get the nomination.

          • Solarsurfer2020

            sadly I feel they are being hi-jacked by far right extremists.. it used to be you could have an intelligent debate/discussion with smart conservative business folks… now its a shouting match with tin-foil hat wearing idiots at center stage… I guess that’s what you get when less than 50% of the people vote, big $$ buys politicians and most folks are too dumb, distracted, medicated, the old Roman bread & circus or divide & conquer with petty BS to see the deeper issues that unite us all… I hope you’re right though, and we see some more centrist common sense influenced by science & economics rather than special interests masquerading as fake patriotism/ military/industrial/mafia/pharma complex but for now the right has thoroughly sold out to Big Oil (the left is no better: they sold their soul to different/same special interests and don’t have the balls to stand up for workers, middle class, environment when voters resoundingly want all those things!).. I hate politics but how sad would be as a country if the best we had to offer was Bush/Clinton/Bush jr then a Kenyan socialist ( ha! politics aside best orator we;ve had in years) then Bush vs Clinton again… really is that the best this country has to offer?? are you fucking kidding me! I am not as starry eyed and idealistic as I once was & understand ways of the world & desires for power, dynasty, corruption, mafia etc but this is not what Thomas Jefferson & Ben Franklin had in mind! I remember when we defeated hitler, cured diseases & flew to the moon…

          • Epicurus

            A few of the Fox people are tethered to reality (very few).

          • Solarsurfer2020

            I whole heartedly agree but we must remember its not “us” vs “them” its all us.. and the polls shows most Republican VOTERS support clean tech & smart business action. FAUX news represents the small radical faction of their corporate masters; not the majority… its sad that they are so effective at manipulating otherwise well meaning, but simple conservatives with their talking points of “patriotism, business, democracy etc” when their radical agenda actually undermines that. To be successful the RE industry needs to learn from the Right’s uber-effective message machine- they are great at controlling the debate I mean would you rather be a “commie homo terrorist ” or “patriot” but the truth shall set you free & john stewart & most educated folks don’t but their BS propaganda. The advantage is they have the $ but we have the truth, youth, economics, & technology on our side. The real issue is $$ out of politics… 89% of all fossil fool $ + $400-800M Koch $$ goes to Republican poli-trickster so big surprise they push for Keystone… we need to win over the hearts & minds of conservative folks if we are to be effective.. instead of “climate change” and “subsides” we need to frame debate as “energy independence, supporting American workers over foreign dictators, employing more vets by % than any other industry, preventing asthma & cancer in kids, saving costs, increasing revenues, tax breaks for consumers + job creation, independence from big brother etc” believe me the far right agenda sickens me too! I get so disgusted watching faux news it would almost be funny if there weren’t masses of idiots that bought their BS… I actually understand the reactionary longing for a lost America that conservative politicks exploit, but that’s just it; they lie & exploit well meaning religious extremists, gun nuts, conservative folks to vote against their economic well being by using very smart emotional manipulation: the left & environmentalists still wrongly believe people vote based on facts, science etc but the right knows its based on emotions which they exploit & control using fear & demagoguery & controlling the media masterfully… but they didn’t count on de-centralized media, energy, food & cannabis going mainstream… We need to stand up and speak the truth to power… most voters already agree with us, we just need to package & advertise our ideas & frame the debate in a better way.. forget “climate change” it needs to be jobs, energy independence, vets, economics etc for the idiots to get it. we have already won we just need to get the late adopters to wake up and turn off the brainwash propaganda machine… Last time I checked Jesus (& Moses & Mohamed for that matter) were radical socialist hippies who preached peace, love, tolerance, feed the hungry, heal the sick for free, over- turn the money changers table & conquer good vs evil (internally not thru fighting) yet a small % of extremists in all 3 camps which all come from Abraham and share same holy books, prophets, dietary laws, repression of women nature t others etc control the debate using lies & propaganda threatening all of us?? The average normal Christians, Jews, Moslems, Republicans, Democrats, Independants, whatever bullshit labels you use need to stand up to the radical extremists threatening us all with their narrow views. We all want to eat, work, live in peace, see our kids do better than us and everyone prosper & we all share so much in common & I am tired of the 1% ruining it for everyone else- all because we are dependent on the OIL in the mid east when there is an abundance of free sunshine, food, truth & peace available at every moment… for everyone… there is only one race.. the HUMAN RACE & we only have ONE EARTH & ONE LIFE (unless the hindus are right about re-incarnation & Tesla perfects space travel) until then its time to grow up as human family and stop fighting over childish BS there is plenty to go around

      • Solarsurfer2020

        “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win…. we must be the change we wish to see in the world”~Gandhi

    • Doug Cutler

      For all their reliance on a conservative religious base, Republicans still don’t know how to read the writing on the wall.

      • Epicurus

        They live in a world of delusions.

    • Solarsurfer2020

      LEft & Right voters support RE at equal rates. its simply the $$ Republican Polit-tricksters get 89% of all fossil fool $ + $400-800Million from Koch to protect their interests. The voters Left & Right actually support this in resounding numbers. its no “us” vs “them” its all us in this shit together. we simply need to get $$ out of politics all while advancing the RE tech & cutting costs so we win on economics despite he old dinosaurs… someday (hopefully soon) we will laugh at the Koch brothers just like telegraphs & dinosaurs but until then they are polluting our democracy & children’s environment & causing cancer & war worldwide. No Mas!

      • Epicurus

        Some conservatives support renewable energy, but the meme that clean energy is prohibitively expensive and wouldn’t survive without government coercion continues to thrive among the righties.

  • mds

    Very Low-Cost Energy Storage (Batteries) is now scaling to large production and coming to market. This enables 24/7 use of Solar PV power, with only a few days or weeks of rain day backup power needed in many sunny area of the world. In places with expensive grid power and a lot of sun (Australia, Hawaii, Chile, etc.) this means many will no longer need the grid.
    Case in point is the Hawaii large residential installation that Aquion is doing.
    …and the cost of Solar PV is still dropping rapidly, so this will be the case on most of the Southern US in a few short years …especially in California.

    Three examples below (a), (b), and (c):
    ==============================================

    (a) Aquion Energy – Available on the open market now.
    Cost is $250.00/kWh; deep cycle life is 5,000
    (5,000 cycles at 1 cycle per day = 13.7 years)
    ($25000c per kWh / 5,000) = 5c/kWh cost of storage

    3c/kWh Wind (coming now) stored at 5c/kWh = 8c/kWh, add 1c/kWh 15% energy lost = 9c/kWh for Stored Wind
    …and you’re using most of that Wind directly at 3c/kWh, without storage e.g. Iowa.

    6c/kWh Solar PV (coming soon) stored at 5c/kWh = 14c/kWh, add 2c/kWh 15% energy lost = 16c/kWh for Stored Solar
    …and you’re using at least half of that Solar PV directly at 6c/kWh, without storage.
    …for Solar PV that’s hugely disruptive at the end-of-grid for residential power on homes.
    ==============================================

    (b) EOS Energy Storage – Available on the open market in 2016. Ramping 1 MWh Battery Pilot Production right now in New York. Test Installations planned by three utilities this year.
    Cost is $160.00/kWh; deep cycle life is 10,000
    (10,000 cycles at 1 cycle per day = 27 years)
    ($16000c per kWh / 10,000) = 1.6c/kWh cost of storage

    3c/kWh Wind (coming now) stored at 1.6c/kWh = 4.6c/kWh, add 1c/kWh 25% energy lost = 5.6c/kWh for Stored Wind (Competitive with other sources of grid power.)
    …and you’re using most of that Wind directly at 3c/kWh, without storage e.g. Iowa.

    6c/kWh Solar PV (coming soon) stored at 1.6c/kWh = 7.6c/kWh, add 2c/kWh 25% energy lost = 9.6c/kWh for
    Stored Solar (Below average end-of-grid power in the US, i.e. at your home.)
    …and you’re using at least half of that Solar PV directly at 6c/kWh, without storage.
    =============================================

    (c) AMBRI – Mass production to start in 2016. Prototype Production in Massachusetts has been up and running since November 2013. Prototypes have in under-going testing in installations. The chemistry has been improved. This one is amazing! Extremely low-cost over life of battery because of extremely high cycle-life. Competitive with pumped hydro power storage, without the geographical limitations.
    Cost has not been announced, but this battery has been design to use VERY cheap materials to begin with. I’m going to guess way high $400.00/kWh for purposes of calculation here.
    Deep cycle fade it 0.0002% per cycle. This would be only 1% degradation after 5,000 cycles, only 10% degradation after 50,000 cycles, only 20% degradation after 100,000 cycles.
    (50,000 cycles at 1 cycle per day = 137 years)
    (100,000 cycles at 1 cycle per day = 274 years)
    “Sadoway’s team says such batteries could last 300 years”
    Liquid electrodes are going to be self healing.
    ($40000c per kWh / 50,000) = 0.8c/kWh cost of storage

    (..and I’m guessing high on cost)

    3c/kWh Wind (coming now) stored at 0.8c/kWh = 3.8c/kWh, add 1c/kWh 25% energy lost = 4.8c/kWh for Stored Wind (Competitive with other sources of grid power.)
    …and you’re using most of that Wind directly at 3c/kWh, without storage e.g. Iowa.

    6c/kWh Solar PV (coming soon) stored at 0.8c/kWh = 6.8c/kWh, add 2c/kWh 25% energy lost = 8.8c/kWh for
    Stored Solar (Below average end-of-grid power in the US, i.e. at your home.)
    …and you’re using at least half of that Solar PV directly at 6c/kWh, without storage.

    Solar PV +
    Storage less than 1/3 the cost of end-of-grid electricity in Australia, Hawaii,
    Chile, rural India, etc. KABOOM! Look Ma no incentives! Coal and Oil what is your excuse now? Bye!

    • Calamity_Jean

      Where did you get the price for Aquion? Their website just says

      “Aquion Authorized Dealers specialize in designing and installing residential and light commercial energy systems. Our dealers are experts in integrating renewables, such as solar and wind, with AHI batteries to deliver robust systems for your home or small business. Aquion Authorized Distributors re-sell AHI batteries to regional dealers. For pricing information, contact the dealer nearest you. “

      And invites people to contact their nearest dealer. There’s three on the east coast, one in Puerto Rico, two in California, and three in Hawaii. http://www.aquionenergy.com/how-buy/residential-solar#

      • Vensonata

        Aquion Batteries are for sale now on AltE store website. They are about $450 kw with advertised 3000 cycles to 100% discharge. They are 85% efficient round trip. So when you crunch the numbers they are priced at what Lifepo4 gives you: 3000 cycles to 80% with 95% efficiency, Balqon has them with Battery management built in for $370 kw. So Balqon’s price is better. Aquion is heavy and bulky for shipping. Balqon is light and compact.
        By the way, cycle life for residential stationary use goes far beyond 3000 cycles. They are still 80% of capacity at 3000 and have another 3000 left at lower capacities. For your house it is perfectly usable, for a car you need to replace them when only 80% is left. (It makes you realize a lot of used Ev battery banks will be going on sale for next to nothing for residential use soon!)

        • John Ihle

          what parameters and numbers are you crunching?

          • vensonata

            The important numbers for residential solar with storage are number of cycles per dollar. Power ratings doesn’t mean much except for utility size batteries. So basically:price per kilowatt hour nameplate (say $150) divided by say 2000 cycles minus maybe 10% efficiency loss, gives price per kwh over lifetime of battery. Off grid only maybe 50% is stored electricity the other is daytime use directly from PV panels. Voila! you find out which battery to buy!

        • NiCuCo

          $450 kw -> $450 kWh

          kW is power, kWh is energy.

        • vensonata

          Sorry, missed the “h”. KWH.

    • Solarsurfer2020

      @mds please email me. I have 6mW solar farm w/ 2-4mW battery storage to participate in PJM Frequency Regulation market on east coast USA & the investors have asked me to research the financials. I understand the basics of storage + Frequency Regulation but would love some expert input on different battery options, economics etc to sell the project.

  • Paul Maher

    The thing that will happen before long goes something like this. LENR/Thorium will drive a Thermoelectric Generator, charge Graphene batteries or something much like them and power wonderful new electric motors. No filling your tank with gasoline, Hydrogen or any thing else. One source says that with Thorium, eight grams will power you for a 100 year life expectancy.

    • mds

      Better hurry up with that. The transition to renewables is accelerating. 😉

    • Epicurus

      Haven’t heard anyone is building a thorium reactor. What’s the hold up?

      • Matt

        They just need someone to give them a $1T dollars to prove that they are ready. Of course that has been the story for at least 15-20 years. They can’t get funded by the DG camp, and coal/nuke don’t want someone else sucking from their tit.

        • Epicurus

          $1T buys a lot of solar panels and wind turbines.

  • Jason hm

    You know the Germans dominate digging tunnels with those fantastic boring machines..What if they turned them vertical..They could forge out a new market for pumped hydro practically anywhere? I kinda see grid level chem batteries as a stop gap. Cities will always need more centralized grid power even if the rural and suburbia get independent..I just don’t see chemical batteries supporting energy needs of a large grid..

    • Ross

      Denmark is getting 40%+ without storage. The batteries only have to support a fraction of demand.

      • sbf

        Not quite, Denmark uses the hydro-rich Nordic grid as storage

        • Neptune

          They don’t use it as a storage, they only use it if prices are attractive.

          They could generate 100% of power domestically, but that would be more expensive. That’s why they prefer trading with neighbours.

  • Doug Cutler

    The Green Dragon drying its wings.

  • RobMF

    Fossil fuels — biggest malinvestment in the history of energy….

    • Ross

      They are now anyway and have been for a few decades given the amount of future sea level rise that is locked in.

    • Solarsurfer2020

      I am the biggest hater of Fossil fuels in the world, but we need to be honest, they have enabled enormous evolution, tech advances, health improvements (pollution, cancer, war aside) creation of wealth (mostly concentrated in evil hierarchies) but still filtered down to avg folks a bit.. the 20th century saw more evolution than last 10,000 yrs,,, we went from horse & buggy, candles, and shitting in outhouses to space age tele-communications, modern medicine & info @ the speed of light… the invention of fire & the wheel wasn’t that long ago… all that being said the side effects were disastrous & now that we have better tech & knowledge unacceptable ( WWs, Hiroshimas, Chernobalys, Dictators, cancers, petro/pharma/military/industrial complexes of evil…. BUT when you know better you do better, we now have the knowledge & technology for the 21st century to be the millennium of light & hopefully peace & more decentralized, equitable societies- the real beauty of decentralized energy, information, food, & medicine is that supports communities & ecosystems rather than top down oppressive hierarchical corporations and govt/military/mafia regimes… this is why they hate/fear it so much… empowered, educated people producing their own free power, growing food and cannabis, freely sharing information empowers all people not the masters who want fat, dumb, sick stupid people watching tv in shitty schools addicted to pharmies & opiates, divided & distracted fighting over race, religion polit-tricks arguing over sports & weather & kardashian cat pics… when we realize the enormous power we have have those evil powers lose their control and its Earth 2.0 RE:volution

      • RobMF

        They outlived their usefulness as soon as we hit above 350 ppm CO2. Beyond that, we’ve basically been investing in worsening future disasters. Further, now that we have viable energy systems there is no excuse for investing upwards of 2 trillion dollars every year in our own diminish end, downfall, or demise.

        We invest 200-300 billion in renewables each year now — 1/5 to 1/10 global fossil fuel investment. And the renewables have better economics and outcomes now.

        So yes, if I’m looking at the choice between a new Permian extinction type event over the course of 100-300 years or an energy source that both prevents that and makes human civilization more resilient, healthy, and energy independent, then yes, fossil fuels currently look like the worst malinvestment in human history.

        Added to this fact is that, because the fuel source is free, the economics for renewables continues to improve with time while fossil fuels are stuck in a red queen situation where technology must constantly race depletion, forever lowering energy returns on energy invested.

        But the fact that burning the fuels is essentially suicidal over rather short timeframes now should be a clarion call for a very, very swift energy switch now.

  • Jason hm

    Well, duh there are mountains of oil and gas that will likely never be tapped into..

    The nations that control these deposits are freaking out because in the future whats going to be left to run on these fuels? All those resource worth a fortune now will be near worthless. In a hundred years what going to burn fossil fuel for energy airplanes,rockets and a few antiques. With cheap electricity you can tailor synthesize any hydrocarbon you desire so even the plastic market is not safe. Really I only see Asphalt and bitumen for roadways and cheap roofing as having a future for long.

    • RobMF

      Battery price/weight will be low enough to be viable in commercial aircraft within a decade.

      • Jason hm

        I don’t think so..You need to have a stable working battery in the lab with that kinda energy density now to see it in the real world in 10 years..

        • RobMF

          Not true. Economies of scale are now reducing battery weight at the manufacturer level.

          • Jason hm

            Ya, but your not going to tweak li-ion enough to get to commercial aircraft energy requirement. New chemistries take time to mature and nothing better the li-ion is currently in the manufacturing pipeline. You cannot not triple the energy density current Li-ion and that’s whats needed for practical commercial aircraft possible.

      • Neptune

        It’s not just batteries, you also new big electric motors that haven’t been invented yet. And new conductors that wouldn’t overheat when conducting huge amounts of electricity from batteries to motors. Typical jet engine is about 30MW. So it’s a monumental task to do this with electric motor and batteries.

        • Jason hm

          Ya, I think once the batteries with the energy density needed are in the market being sold then it’s still going to be 10-15 years for them to be adapted to anything lager than sport and commuter aviation..Planes are a 30 plus year investment no one is going to risk billions and a decade of intense R&D before the batteries are even in the available..

          • JamesWimberley

            Airbus and Boeing are already doing the R&D. Airbus have flown a Cessna-sized all-electric plane and are working on a commuter plane. They will have solved all the other technical issues before the batteries get good enough.

      • mds

        It’s not enough for now to become cost effective in EVs and replace fossil fuel based light trucks and cars? That would eliminate 60% of North America’s oil use …about the same percent for World oil use.
        A renewable solution for planes is hard, but we’ll gitter done …next.

        • Zer0Sum

          Another option to cut back on FF is to stop eating beef. Imagine a world without gas guzzling pick up trucks and beef. That would rip the heart out of Texas.

      • grumpy

        Actually take a hard look at model airplane batteries now. Except for the catching fire part, they are ready to go in real aircraft. That’s pretty close. When you redesign the plane and flight plan, going higher and possibly high altitude supersonic for example, you find out that battery powered aviation is closer than you think.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Know of an article that does a good job with the math?

    • Martin

      Oil will still have lots of value, it is valuable to burn for energy, it is used in a lot of other industries.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        “Oil will still have lots of value, it is valuable to burn for energy”
        It is not cost effective for that. It’s one of the more expensive ways to generate electricity, which is why electricity is so expensive in Hawaii …and why they’re installing so much solar.

        Yes, useful for plastics manufacturing, fertilizers, and fuel for large trucking and aviation.

        It won’t disappear over night. Looks to me like they’ll be losing half their market as Light trucks and cars convert to electric. Tipping point for lower cost batteries, allowing lower cost EVs, is only a few years away. After that it will be an accelerating replacement.
        Don’t believe me? You’re seeing that for coal use to make electricity right now.

    • Epicurus

      Yep. Just one electric car or plug in hybrid represents thousands of gallons of gasoline that will never be purchased or burned.

    • rockyredneck

      Depends on what you mean by for long. 10, 20, 30 years.

      I think alternatives will eventually will replace much of the burning of fossil fuel, but, in the case of oil, I think the timing will have more to do with price and availability. Global demand still appears to be increasing.

      The use of Natural gas may increase for a while, as well, as coal is replaced.

      I can see a fairly rapid demise of coal, driven by pollution issues.

      Betting on time spans at this point would seem a good way to impoverish yourself.

    • Zer0Sum

      Any reserves that are left in the ground are Energy Negative. It takes more energy to get them out of the ground, process them and transport them to market than they provide. If they weren’t they would have already been tapped over the past 100 years. By tapping the remaining Fossil Fuel reserves we are exponentially hastening the declination of remaining fossil energy reserves. The cost in terms of price is meaningless. Fiat Money is magically generated out of thin air anyway. At the Fed they just have to type a number on a keyboard and they have as much money as they want. The laws of physics are not as forgiving.

      • nakedChimp

        nope mate, have to stop you here.. they can’t just print out money, they have to find debtors that take out a loan which becomes the money.. the world is running out of reputable debtors (*) – that’s the problem – and the final ceiling for the money-printing-scheme.

        *) the “lender of last resort” is the government as it can press taxes, no one else can.. and if that ship has sailed (tangible taxpayers are mostly workers and just look what happened with them in the great depression last century) it’s lights-out.

        PS: yes I have read and discussed a lot on that and know a thing or two 😉

        • Zer0Sum

          In your world what is Quantitative Easing if not printing money?

          The US Government borrows money from the Fed, the European Governments borrow money from the ECB, Japan borrows from BoJ, etc… These institutes have the freedom to generate money at will. They do not have to find any debtors. If the Nation States ask for money they magically generate it.

          The IMF borrows from all of them and other Governments borrow from the IMF and the other banks. This circular scheme goes on and on in a self fulfilling loop. Sometimes a few debtors drop out and have to be amortised. Usually in return for a significant chunk of their national resources.

          That’s what makes the Greece issue a big joke. The Greeks are asking for a write down so they can afford to get people back into work without breaking the system completely. The US doesn’t even bother to pay it’s debt, keeps racking up more and more debt, prints as much money as it wants, invades other nations with impunity, perpetuates war to ensure the growth of the MIC, monitors the entire worlds digital communications, propagandises everything with total hypocrisy (Do as I say not as I do) and no one blinks an eye.

          • nakedChimp

            QE is exactly what I described. The private debtors and the corporate debtors can’t take out any more loans in a meaningful amount (they don’t get any more money for reasonable cost = interest), so the government jumps in as lender of last resort to keep the game going for a little while longer. At some point QE will cause that the rating for the US is going down further than A++ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_government_credit-rating_downgrades).. and this will work until it breaks.

            So again, to print money you need debtors to take out loans.. in final-stage-capitalism this is the government.

            PS: If you want to read a bit more about this I suggest looking for a guy named Silvio Gesell, he came before Keynes.

            PPS: some people all over the world are already testing (and have been testing) the fundamentals of Gesells idea.. one recent example is a local currency called the Chiemgauer in Bavaria, Germany.

          • Solarsurfer2020

            you are both right paper money is just an illusion once its not tied to real resources, labor, production or services. that being said I have no grasp on math, economics, physics etc way over my head… but I find it fascinating how the stock market responds to perceived psychological factors rather than actual data or metrics of production, profitably etc… what is making this whole RE transition/evolution possibly in part I believe is that since the Information economy/2nd industrial revolution whatever you call it, now we are not tied strictly to farming/mining/production based on resources but we are in an information/services economy to some extent. when energy becomes free, we can print anything of 3D printers & everyone has access to tower garden og foods then we can begin the real work of human evolution

    • Solarsurfer2020

      “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.. We must be the change we wish to see in the world!.” ~ Gandhi

  • Kevin McKinney

    You can read the full report here, but note that it touches on many other issues; the relevant portion is on p. 58:

    https://ir.citi.com/20AykGw9ptuHn0MbsxZVgmFyyppuQUUt3HVhTrcjz4ibR%2Bx79LajBxIyoHIoSDJ3S%2BWRSMg8WOc%3D

  • JamesWimberley

    I’m bemused by the extreme bullishness of many analysts on batteries compared to their unwarranted caution on wind and solar. I suspect they have been spooked by the INTERMITTENCY! meme sedulously oversold by fossil and nuclear advocates, and the media invisibility of the cheap large-scale storage solution already to hand, pumped hydro. In regions with lots of running hydro already – Ontario, Brazil, Switzerland – you don’t need any large-scale grid storage at all for backup. In hot countries, molten salt tanks connected to CSP plants will usually be much cheaper than batteries.

    That’s apart from transport of course, where batteries really are the key to the transition.

    • LogicDesigner

      Pumped-hydro has environmental problems associated with it. You have to basically dynamite off the tips of mountains to create water reservoirs. There are only so many places that you can do this economically, and besides, do we really want to be chopping off the tops of our mountains?

      It is similar to the problem with hydroelectric energy. You have to dam a river and flood a large region. There is a reason that there are not a lot of new hydro dams being built in the Western world.

      • Bob_Wallace

        That’s a little extreme. The US has hundreds of existing dams that could be converted to PuHS.

        Europe has a few thousand sites where both reservoirs already exist within reasonable distance.

        http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/jrc/downloads/jrc_20130503_assessment_european_phs_potential.pdf

        In addition, there are thousands of rock quarries, open pit mins and subsurface mines that could be used. But I’m betting that batteries will win out and little additional PuHS will be built.

      • mds

        “chopping off the tops of our mountains”

        not true You fill in valleys at choke points to create dams. You want that mountain top to collect rain and snow for your dammed reservoir.
        Maybe you’re confusing this with mountain top coal mining that does take the top off of mountains.

        • Calamity_Jean

          And, of course, it would be possible to put pumped storage reservoirs on old mountain top removal coal mines.

      • Ronald Brakels

        Existing hydroelectric and pumped storage makes a big difference. Australia only gets 8% of its electricity from hydropower, but with our pumped storage that’s enough to meet about 2 hours of average demand. Or more realistically half of average demand for four hours. Increasing rooftop solar capacity means less hydropower is used during the day making more available for the evening peak, helping to keep a lid on electricity prices then. Solar is also pushing down the price of electricity during the day which means it can allow pumped storage to be charged around noon, so it can be used to meet the morning peak and the evening peak, increasing its value.

      • Solarsurfer2020

        Saw a great study of using trains instead of pumped hydro.. drive trains up hills, then let them flow down using braking generators… very efficient & scalable using existing tech

    • mds

      re bullishness on batteries vice wind and solar.
      Different for batteries.
      Customer need and economics are there (big time!) and technology is there.
      KABOOM! 😉

  • Calamity_Jean

    “…battery storage costs could fall to around $230/kWh by 2020…. “

    How much are battery storage costs now? I’m wondering how far the cost has to fall.

    • Bob_Wallace

      “The cost of the battery is only ~10-20% higher than the bill of materials – suggesting a potential long-term competitive price for Lithium Ion batteries could approach ~$100 per kWh. Tesla currently pays Panasonic $180/kW for their batteries, although conventional systems still selling for $500-700/kWh. But Navigant says that the broader market place will reach the levels Tesla is paying in the next two to three years.”

      http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/battery-storage-costs-plunge-below100kwh-19365

      Elsewhere in the report they state that the materials the Panasonic battery are about $70. Plus 20% would be $84. Large scale production should bring prices to around $100 and my guess is that we’ll be there or close to there by 2020. There are multiple very large battery factories being built right now which should be up and running in a couple of years.

      • Neptune

        ” Large scale production should bring prices to around $100 and my guess is that we’ll be there or close to there by 2020.”

        Now that’s optimism!

        • Philip W

          I call it realism.
          My 2010 Smartphone had a 1GHz single core processor manufactured in 45nm. My 2014 smartphone now has a 2,3GHz quadcore manufactured in 28nm. That´s some serious progress!
          Batterys could certainly evolve that quick, too, since demand is rising quickly.

          • Neptune

            It’s different situation. Smartphones already had manufacturing capabilities prior to releasing new model, while batteries don’t have them yet. You first need to build factories in order to get mass production going. And I find hard to see it happening on that scale so quickly.

          • Philip W

            You may underestimate China. They are already pushing hard for EV adoption. Don’t you think they can have multiple huge facilities online in 5 years? I think they can.

          • rockyredneck

            China will probably lead in EV adoption as their market for personal transportation rapidly increases. A result of increased prosperity. There is much less inventory in ICEV to replace and less infracture to amortize out.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I expect China to get far out in front. The Chinese government shows signs of actively pushing EV sales. Hard.

            Much of Chinese cities’s pollution problems come from vehicles. Surprisingly little from coal-electricity plants. Moving the population to EV cars and bikes can go a long way toward cleaning city air.

          • Calamity_Jean

            Coal-fired furnaces and boilers in apartment blocks don’t help either.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That is apparently the other big source of urban air pollution.

            Some of the boilers have been converted to electric. It’s a place to dump supply surplus.

          • mds

            It’s always different, but large factories are being built now and technology is there now, see other comments.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tesla/Panasonic. Expected to be on line in 2017. L.G.Chem is building a large factory and should be runnging about the same time. I believe BYD is doing a major expansion. And there’s another company who’s name I don’t recall planning a very large battery factory somewhere in the SE.

            “Navigant Research expects the Li-ion industry to produce 49 GWh of battery capacity for vehicles in 2020, a more than tenfold increase over 2013 production numbers. However, the market researcher notes, the vendor landscape within the Li-ion industry is still unsettled.”

            http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/06/navigant-20130625.html

          • Bob_Wallace

            “LG Chem plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the plant by 2020, with an annual production capacity of batteries for more than 100,000 electric vehicles when completed by the end of 2015, the Korean company said in a statement Wednesday.”

            http://www.wsj.com/articles/lg-chem-bets-on-electric-vehicles-in-china-1404271244

          • Bob_Wallace

            Batteries don’t have to evolve to hit $100/kWh. Materials costs are now $70/kWh. To produce batteries at $100 means large scale, competitive manufacturing. Squeeze out all the inefficiencies. Turn batteries into a commodity.

            We’ve got (IIRC) at least four very large battery factories under construction right now that are designed to crank out EV batteries.

            Tesla/Panasonic expect to be below $130 by 2017 or so. Pressure from other manufacturers should trim some more fat.

          • Matt

            Agreed there are already several very large scale plants under construction; and I expect we will hear of more in the next two year. hat or we will not because they will be considered old news.

      • Calamity_Jean

        “Tesla currently pays Panasonic $180/kW for their batteries…. “

        But you or I can’t buy them for that price.

        • Bob_Wallace

          No, but it tells us that once there is adequate manufacturing capacity we’re going to see large retail price drops. Large volume purchasers will almost certainly get better prices as it is with everything.

          I’m thinking that lithium ion batteries may not be what we use in our homes. We don’t need EV-type weight/size savings. Alquion batteries are more along the lines of what I see us using in our homes and businesses.

          • Calamity_Jean

            “…once there is adequate manufacturing capacity we’re going to see large retail price drops “

            I’m looking forward eagerly to it.

          • vensonata

            Aquion are for sale on the AltE webstore. Around $450 kwh. Priced to exactly compete with Lifepo4. It becomes apparent as you compare battery technologies that they set their prices to life cycle kwh, so they are competitive. But I guess it does not mean that magically all these different battery formats just happen to cost the same to manufacture. Some MBA from Harvard is giving the Electrical Engineer who owns the patent advice about pricing. A shame actually, they should just cut the price to the bone and wipe out the competition, since there is kind of an environmental emergency going on.

          • Solarsurfer2020

            do you mean the Aquion salt based batteries from PA? very exciting, safe, cheap scalable tech! I am a big fan of Aquion!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes. Either Aquion or EOS zinc-air. I don’t think we’d use liquid metal batteries due to their high heat requirements.

            But I’m leaving plenty of room to have my mind changed.

      • John Ihle

        There reliability values that seem to be overlooked or that I don’t hear too much about on the electric grid. Reliance on transmission providers to ensure reliability at a time where hackers are hacking into the Pentagon. This is a big deal, along with weather concerns, and something you can only deal with at the DG level. 21st century electricity planning stuff. Independent power producers should be incentivized on the DG side which should be paid for along with load following, voltage support and other ancillary services.
        I’d like to see the utility industry really plan rather than take the staid old 19th century investment model approaches via long distance generation and transmission. It seems short sighted for too many reasons.

        • Matt

          Just from a weather stand point. Think if every large building in NYC has 24-48 hours or peak power storage, and could isolate from grid when needed. When Sandy hit the recovery would have been much faster. Yes the storage need to be above the high water line; but so should have the power connect in the first place. But yes from a national security stand point breaking the grid into many sub/micro/mini grid that can isolate would be a big plus.

      • Solarsurfer2020

        @Bob_Wallace what do you know about Frequency Regulation markets especially PJM in eastern USA? potential 6MW solar farm with 2-3.5MW of battery storage to participate in Freq Reg to boost IRR… please fee free to inbox me any info/insights you may have solarsteve56@gmail.com thanks!

    • Kevin McKinney

      And, of course, EOS is claiming $160/kWh for their (stationary) aqueous zinc battery system, as CleanTechnica recently reported. The system is rolling out now.

      http://www.eosenergystorage.com

      • Vensonata

        Apparently these EOS batteries get 10,000 cycles. At $160 kw that is 1.6 cents kwh. Even if the rest of the system doubles that price, the game is not just on, with fossil fuels, its over. Game, set, match. Lets hope the Koch brothers are graceful losers!

        • Bob_Wallace

          EOS states that they can purchase offpeak power (I assume 4 cent wind) and sell it back to demand at 10 to 12 cents/kWh.

          A mixture of 4 cent wind, soon to be 4 cent solar, and 12 cent stored power would be pretty much unbeatable. Add in some hydro and geothermal sweeteners.

          Unless we turn the government over to Republicans in 2016 the EPA will close coal down. There will be no valid economic argument for keeping it open.

          Perhaps the most effective thing we could do as individuals is to start getting the word out about how much coal costs taxpayers in health care costs. Coal needs to get the black eye it deserves.

          • Epicurus

            Sounds like the free market will close coal down, and the Republicans won’t be able to do anything about it.

          • John Ihle

            Pls link the EOS information and who “they” are. I’d like to see some information on how payback is calculated on clean energy storage utilizing demand projections. I don’t think DG independent power producers are being paid for ancillary services; voltage support, load following, etc.
            I see a lot of information on the cost being so many $/kwhr or so many dollars for purchase price or financed/installed $/kw but little to nothing on how that relates to pretty much anything. What’s the value proposition? I know it’s there just wondering how it’s calculated.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s their site.

            http://www.eosenergystorage.com/

            I’ve seen comments on power producers not receiving payment for ancillary services and it being a hidden subsidy for nuclear. Can’t give you any more than that.

            Initially storage is going up against gas peakers for grid stabilization and short term spikes in demand. It will be interesting to see if power producers can get somewhere with either being paid for running at sup-optimal output or being allowed to run at full output rather than operating as spinning reserve for free. If power producers are able to force payments then batteries will likely take that role.

          • Gregg Warnock

            Aye, but believe me, in Wyoming, they (Big Energy), owns our politicians, lock stock and barrel and coal is our largest revenue generator, plus we are too stupid to push for diversity, it will be a uphill battle all the way!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Getting a HVDC line from Wyoming wind down to the Pacific and Intermountain Interties is going to bring a new player to town. Folks are going to like those wind farm lease checks and the local governments are going to be happy with some new revenue.

          • Solarsurfer2020

            we need to shift the debate from “climate change” which is vague for troglodytes to comprehend (and also in the future so not tied to human psychology of risk vs reward behavior) & speak instead of “pollution, asthma attacks for kids, cancers, water contamination, energy independence, supporting local farmers & workers rather than mid east dictators & Kock/exxon 7 sisters of death hierarchies, conservation, reduced costs, increased revenues, Solar creating jobs @ 20x the national avg (10% vets- highest of any industry- I am so tired of poli-tricksters using our vets for talking points- they send them to Iraq to die for oil, then deny them VA medical care, all the while preaching on FAUX news about being patriotic- our vets know 1st hand the cost of out oil addiction… lets be true patriots & achieve energy independence & give our soldiers good jobs at home instead of dying overseas to enrich Kochs & Saudias & Haliburton devil worshipers!) bringing back manufacturing hi tech jobs (when was last time US has been building new manufacturing plants on scale of gigafactory for batteries or the Solarcity panel factory in buffalo..1M sq ft+?) We need to frame the dialogue in simplistic terms the avg Joe Faux news idiot can understand and stop letting fossil fuel interests like Koch bros preach propaganda and control the debate (& our political system… simple solution $$ out of polit-tricks like our founding fathers designed) which is not only destructive to the environment but also the free market, national security, our military $ democracy itself. its not rocket science that fossil fuel groups (or any group) seeks to protect their interests by buying off politicians- we all know this story is as old as history- what is exciting is disruptive tech achieving grid parity w/out subsides using moores law, economies of scale and rapidly evolving public awareness due to decentralized media, food, energy & cannabis normalization- the solution to hierarchy economics) It blows my mind that top solar installers are US Military, Walmart, Google, Costco, Apple, Verizon etc (not just whole foods niche) (yet still Germany produces more Solar in cold north size of GA than ALL of USA.. we are still only 1%- yet Hawaii is 12% Solar & we can scale very rapidly) bc it is simply smart business: lower costs, increase revenues, good PR for your brand… the military & walmart are certainly not tree hugging commies, but smart business people are beyond politics & ideology controlled by special interests… or they can focus on the past & go extinct! I love the fact that solar and other RE tech can now outcompete on economics alone. we will see a rapid RE:volution similar to computers, flat screens, cell phones etc in the 21st century economies of light… that our we will go extinct fighting over fossil fools and burning up out children’s planetary future… im hedging my bet on the first option, that & praying & working my ass off to get Solar to every business, school, church, homeowner and govt in the world- our grandchildren demand it… once clean free energy is achieved.. then we can get down to the real business of human evolution of consciousness, art, tech innovation and a rediscovery of our ancient shamanic wisdom!

        • RobMF

          The Koch Brothers are gearing up to spend 800 million in 2016… They are fighting for total dominance and repression of renewables. That said, it looks like the next two years are going to be rather tough on the oil industry. So I wonder if the political war chest will be as stocked as it was in the past. I think we’re seeing the end of their era of powerful influence.

          • Ross

            At these prices soon it will barely matter what the Kochs spend trying to delay progress.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The Koch’s have a much larger agenda. Koch money started the John Birch Society and funded the Tea Party. This is a family dedicated to taking the country back to the days of the robber barons where only white men had privilege.

          • Epicurus

            And the great irony is that the “free market,” which they worship, will do them in with clean energy.

          • just_jim

            If you look at the anti-free market proposals by ALEC in regard to renewables (certainly intertwinned with the Kochs), it seems clear that the Koch Brothers only like the free market when it favors them. They are willing to put government imposed regulations on the free market if it goes against their interests.

          • Epicurus

            “the anti-free market proposals by ALEC in regard to renewables”

            I wouldn’t put anything past ALEC or the Kochs, but are you referring to ALEC’s net metering policy whereby solar owners will be forced to pay a fee to maintain the grid?

            I don’t agree with it, but it does bring up an issue. As more people move to solar and even move off the grid entirely, the utilities will be forced to raise rates on their ever dwindling number of customers in order to cover their fixed costs. More than likely, the people who stay with the utilities will be those who cannot afford to install solar, i.e. poor people. I think this is happening in Germany now: huge utility rate increases as more and more people install solar. This is a transition issue that should be addressed.

          • John Ihle

            That’s another good argument for virtual net metering and programs such as those RREAP is involved with. There are no good excuses not to devise rational policy or other reasons when the bottom line is that investing in clean/dg intrastate transmission energy is cheaper than building interstate vs long distance interstate transmission/fossil generation and stranded assets.

          • Epicurus

            “There are no good excuses not to devise rational policy”

            Except that our entire political system is held hostage by entrenched business interests. Democracy in the U.S. is an illusion.

          • John Ihle

            Righto.. but it’s not an excuse it’s a symptom relating to several things chief among them is ignorance and apathy. On the other side of that, imo, the system works perfectly if you’re a special interest because they aren’t apathetic or ignorant and they’re pretty good a lobbying.
            No one can tell me that if enough people contacted their representatives, and voted them out when they didn’t do what their constituents told them what they wanted done, that there couldn’t be much more progress much quicker. It’s b.s. So we get what we deserve, generally, based on ignorance and apathy.

          • Epicurus

            One problem is gerrymandering. A particularly outrageous example is heavily
            progressive Travis
            County. Travis
            County has been carved up
            into five different congressional districts, four of which are occupied by conservative
            Republicans. But the U.S. electoral
            system has a more fundamental problem, without which gerrymandering would not
            be possible. The fundamental problem is our system of single member
            districts. Single member districts award
            100% of the representation to as little as a 50.1% majority. The people who support the losing candidate
            are left with no one to represent their views and values.

            Is it fair that up to 49.9% of the people in a district have no representation
            in government? This is probably the biggest single reason a lot of people in
            the U.S.
            don’t vote: they live in a district which is almost certain to elect someone
            they don’t like. So why should they care about voting?

            Some people say all we need is a “fair” way to draw districts. There
            is no fair way to draw a single member district. The winner-take-all nature of
            the single member district always leaves some people, usually a lot of people,
            without a voice in government. This is why most democracies which have emerged
            since ours have rejected winner-take-all single member districts in their
            electoral systems in favor of what is known as proportional representation.

            The basic concept of proportional representation is that like-minded voters in
            a geographical area such as a congressional district should be able to elect
            candidates in proportion to their share of the vote. For example, in a
            five-seat district, like-minded voters with 20% of the votes should win one out
            of five seats and like-minded voters with 51% of the vote should win three of
            five seats. This voting method is perfectly constitutional, but it does require
            that a federal law requiring single member districts be repealed.

            FairVote.org describes a simple method called Fair Representation Voting for
            moving from what we have now, winner-take-all single-member districts, to
            multi-member districts. In Texas Fairvote proposes combining existing five
            single-member districts into five-member super-districts all over the state.

            Fairvote.org has a great six minute YouTube video which
            explains what Fair Representation Voting is, how it works, and what the
            benefits are. Here’s the link, but if it
            doesn’t work, search YouTube for “Fixing Congress with Fair Representation
            Voting.”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS62N5b5L7Y

            It’s outrageous that the vast majority of us who favor clean air, clean water,
            and clean energy legislation are vastly underrepresented in Congress and the Texas legislature. Our representatives should be determined by
            what we believe, not by our street address.

            People who favor clean energy should support and lobby for Fair Representation
            Voting and fight to allow all Texans to be represented by people who share
            their views and values. Absent Fair
            Representation Voting, millions of people favoring clean air, clean water, and
            clean energy will continue to have no voice in their government.

          • MixedResults

            Are you hitting Enter after typing each line? It may end up looking okay on your screen, but on mine it looks like this. It is kind of a mangled mess and a pain to read. You should just type until you hit the end of a paragraph and only hit Enter at the end.

          • Epicurus

            It looks perfect on my screen.

            I have been harping on Fair Representation Voting for a long time, and I copied and pasted some of it from another post I made on another site.

            If I could see the mess, I would fix it.

          • Zer0Sum

            Australia and New Zealand have proportional systems and both of them have been subverted. The solution is quite simple. Just loose votes or otherwise encourage voter apathy so that the majority of votes that are counted or accepted belong to the party that “they” want in control.

            In NZ over 60% of eligible voters didn’t vote for the party that is in charge of the government but 30% of NZ didn’t vote (weren’t counted if they did – lost votes) so the Party that is in charge claims they have a mandate to “rule”.

            IMO if you don’t have the support of over 50% of all eligible voters who don’t have a mandate. It should be legislated that a government can only be formed with more than 50% of the support of all eligible voters. That would probably result in a National Unity Government which would be challenging for special interests but would mean that the Government has to represent a real majority of all eligible voters and not just the votes that were officially counted.

            Less chance for rorting the system this way. Florida is a perfect example of screwing up the vote count to ensure a pre selected result. The Australian and NZ Political Elite have taken things a step further.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Zer0sum, Australia has proportional voting, but doesn’t have a proportional government. What we do have is Rupert Murdock as our unoffical king maker who recently tried to use his influence and media companies to keep the coal subsidising LNP in power in Queensland. But fortunately that didn’t turn out the way he wanted it to.

          • Calamity_Jean

            Rupert Murdock is a malign influence all over the English-speaking world. At least the Koch brothers only damage the US.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Let’s show him! Let’s all drink until we can no longer speak English! Now where did I put my chocolate milk?

          • Calamity_Jean

            Sounds fine to me. Cheers!

          • RobMF

            Sad to say, but these guys work together…

          • RobMF

            That was amazing. Huge victory for renewables, although people don’t realize due to the fact that MSM isn’t saying a word.

          • Epicurus

            “In NZ over 60% of eligible voters didn’t vote for the party that is in charge of the government”

            How does that happen in a proportional representation system? It happens in the U.S. because of single member districts and gerrymandering.

          • Zer0Sum

            For the past two elections the official story is that over 30% of Eligible voters didn’t bother to vote. So the result is that the party that forms the government only has 30% of NZ actually backing them. The other 30% who were counted didn’t vote for them. Of the 60% who were counted the vote was almost equally split between the left and right. The Government has only a 2 seat majority out of 60% of eligible voters counted and 30% out of 100% of eligible voters but they claim to have a real majority.

            Hence the proportional system is subverted. They have done the same thing in Australia too. NZ and Australia are a test bed for these kinds of experiments. Broadly similar cultural/social makeup to the US/UK so a good place to see what they can get away with and what the citizens will put up with.

            However it seems the tide is turning in Australia. If they can’t hold the support of their redneck voter base in Queensland then they are pretty much done and dusted in the rest of the country.

          • just_jim

            In regards to Germany’s rates, there aren’t huge rate increases from going solar. The high German rates are due to 3 things, high taxes on electricity, subsidized costs for industry, and as a minor part, solar subsidies. Note, that’s solar subsidies, not solar in general, and Germany is expecting retail rates to fall even as more solar is added, as subsidies are reduced.

          • JamesWimberley

            I’d add: a gold-plated transmission and distribution system, offering reliability Americans can only dream of, and higher amenity in towns with all buried cables.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Ignoring an approximately 9.5 euri cent spike in wholesale power back in the middle of 2008 and working from a more typical ~7 cent baseline, Germany’s wholesale price of electricity has fallen by about 3.5 cents. Renewable “charges” paid by retail customers run about 6 cents. This means that almost half of the tax amount has been nullified by dropping wholesale prices.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Paying for grid access seems only fair. The only issue is what a fair amount might be.

            Providing ones own storage and backup is not cheap. Much cheaper to purchase some wind or hydro late at night than store you own solar or purchase some power after a couple days of no sunshine than to power up a generator.

            Hopefully utilities will move to a pricing system that is fair for all. If so, they can maintain market size and even expand it as EVs come on line.

          • Epicurus

            “Koch money started the John Birch Society”

            Daddy was apparently a first class nut job. One of the sons allegedly bears scars from the fights daddy forced them to engage in. Ain’t plutocracy through inherited wealth great?

          • Solarsurfer2020

            The Koch sucker family $ came from stealing petro patents from other US firms & taking it to Stalinist Russia to modernize Statoil. Now they seek to use political influence (ie $$) to get politicians to tax & outlaw their compition (solar & wind) & use taxpayer subsidies & eminent domain to steal ranchers & native American land to ship foreign oil off to communist China all while externalizing all of the pollutions & costs on US taxpayers to create what 30-300? permanent jobs once the pipeline is built? great for them horrible for this country & the most un-American, anti-democratic anti-free market scenario I can imagine!!.. what about Free Market competition, property rights, meritocracy & democracy? Sounds like true free market & democracy to me (barf!) Whats sad is that I read a poll where voters of both left & right (actuall slightly more Repubs) support Solar & eco issues but 89% of all fossil feul lobby $ & $400-800M Koch sucker $ went to Repiblican poli-tricksters Sooo… big surprise their 1st move is to push for Keystone XL… whats exciting is when economics & public opinion & market forces make RE more economical thar Fossil Fools & when tea party lunatics start pushing for Solar in FLA & GA (reduce costs, conserve, energy independce, states rights over big brother, less taxes= job creation etc… that’s the mantra of the right, right? now lets walk the talk. Solar & RE industry needs to tell our story better: what other industry can boast job creation @ 20x national avg (10% vets) 85% reduction in costs in 5 yrs w 1200% growth of install.. all during its infancy in the worst recession since 1929? we need more effective PR, advertising, political lobbying, law policy changes etc… The public is overwhelmingly in support in every poll even uber conservative groups… we must demand action from politician & stop being so nice and eco-hippy & believing in human intelligence. we need to engage in politics & PR & be peaceful warriors: our ancestors & grandchildren demand it.. this is not a silicon valley whole foods luxury but a necessity & right of all human beings
            “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” ~MLK jr
            “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.. we must Be the Change we wish to see in the World!.”- Gandhi

        • Calamity_Jean

          “Lets hope the Koch brothers are graceful losers! “

          Fat chance.

      • Calamity_Jean

        They claim they will sell their batteries for that in 2016.

        I just sent them an email with the subject line “Your products” that said:

        “Are you selling batteries now? I know you’ve said that you will sell batteries for $160 per kWh in 2016, but are you selling any now? If you are, you should put a price list on your website. One of your competitors, Balqon, already does. http://www.balqon.com/store-2/#!/~/category/id=2860254&inview=product38377246&offset=0&sort=priceAsc Obviously shipping costs something, but you could give prices as $XXXX plus shipping from (location).

        “Without a price list, people remember the the old joke, “If you have to ask what something costs, you can’t afford it.”

        “You don’t need to answer me personally. I’m sure many other people want this information. You should make it available to everyone who cares enough to look at your website “

        If I get a response I’ll report it here.

        Incidently, Balqon’s 15kWh battery at $5560 is $370 per kWh. Smaller and larger sizes are more per kWh.

      • Calamity_Jean

        I got an answer to my email to EOS. It says:

        Thank you for expressing your interest for the Eos Aurora 1000|4000.

        Since January 23rd, the day we announced commercial availability of our product, we have processed more than 1 GWh of orders. For us to be in a position to satisfy your order, we would like to plan for manufacturing capacity as soon as possible. Please express your interest through the following form:http://www.eosenergystorage.com/products/order/ .

        Thank you for your understanding.

        Best regards,

        So we still don’t know what the price is NOW.

    • mds

      See comment on very low-cost grid storage batteries: Aquion, EOS, Ambri.
      Very low cost for grid storage when amortized out of full cycle-life. Similar to hydro for Ambri battery. Lasts so long it could well be cheaper than pumped hydro storage …with no geographical limitations. We’ll see if they scale ok. Looks good for all three of those, so far, and there are others.

      • Calamity_Jean

        I still don’t have any prices except for Balqon. Their lowest cost battery is 15 kWh for $5560, which comes to $370 per kWh. One of those would be enough to run my current house overnight in the summer (including air conditioning) if I had a PV system big enough to fully charge it by sunset.

      • John Ihle

        do you have information as to how grid storage is amortized through full life cycle; dg vs transmission.

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