In last week’s Newsletter I wrote about the approaching battery storage revolution and whether or not we are likely to see a big percentage of homeowners go ‘off-the-grid’. Personally I think this is unlikely but it will depend on how electricity companies adapt to the fundamental changes that solar + storage are bringing to the way people produce, use, buy, sell, and think about energy.
New Energy Storage Options
Just in the last week I’ve read about a couple more interesting energy storage options.
This Gizmag article describes a new program from Daimler in Germany whereby they plan to combine a lot of used electric car batteries into a 13MWh energy storage facility. Batteries are good for about 10 years in electric cars until they can no longer produce the power output that a car requires, however they still have a lot of useful life left in them. In fact Daimler estimates that they should be good for another ten years of stationary battery storage. This should help to reduce the cost of stationary storage plus reduce the environmental effects of making, using and recycling huge numbers of batteries.
Meanwhile, for those readers who are keen to get started with energy storage and don’t want to wait until the Tesla Powerwall arrives in Australia, the latest issue of ReNew magazine included a short piece about LG’s Residential Energy Storage Unit (RESU) which seems to compare favourably with the Powerwall in terms of size, capacity, convenience and cost. These lithium ion battery systems are available now from Solar Juice with a RRP of $6900.
Fossil Fuel Subsidies
On the other hand, the world’s governments continue to subsidise fossil fuels even while they talk about reducing carbon emissions. This excellent article from Energy Matters describes the massive contradictions at play in government policies that support the global fossil fuel industry to the tune of about US$200 Billion annually.
‘We are totally schizophrenic,” said Secretary-General Gurria in other comments related to the report. “We are trying to reduce emissions and we subsidise the consumption of fossil fuels’ which causes global warming…
These policies are now obsolete – dangerous legacies of a bygone era when pollution was viewed as a tolerable side effect of economic growth…
In addition to environmental issues, fossil-fuel subsidies distort the costs and prices of various goods and services; perpetuating older technologies over cleaner alternatives such as renewable energy and the continuation of energy-intensive methods of production.’
Personally I am very hopeful that we will see big changes in the global energy sector over the next few years which will level the playing field and help renewable energy to gain the upper hand over fossil fuels. I hope to see a global emissions trading scheme come out of the upcoming climate talks in Paris. I hope to see a lot of marginal fossil fuel companies go broke due to the artificially low energy prices we are currently experiencing. Plus I hope to see governments around the world reducing subsidies for fossil fuels. All of these factors will help to drive the price of fossil fuels much higher which will help to make renewable energy more competitive and when that happens we will really see a huge shift away from fossil fuels and into renewables.