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THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY – April 2024, by Sid Crouch, GTTSi Chief Technical Consultant

  • By Admin
  • April 2, 2024

Since zero carbon emissions by 2050 is the major topic of discussion these days, let’s look at how to get there. Based on projected electricity demands provided by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, we will need 94% of electricity to be generated by renewable sources, 6% from nuclear, with 932 GW (Gigawatts) of battery energy storage capable of providing power for up to 6½ hours or ~6 TWh (Terrawatt-hours) of battery energy storage. The research revealed that as renewables grow, battery energy storage needs will diminish. The actual time spent outputting electricity will eventually decline to only 10-20%. Therefore, there is less need for peaking plants and fossil fuel generation, which will reduce overall cost of providing energy, as well as particulates released by burning fossil fuels for coal and peaking plants. However, to attain 94% of our electricity from renewables will cost ~$4 trillion according to the energy research firm Wood Mackenzie. 6 TWh of battery energy storage will also be costly but will be needed during the transition to back up renewables when they are not available. Today it cost ~$140/kWh (kilowatt hour) or ~$140 million/GWh (Gigawatt-hour) for battery energy storage. 6 TWh will cost 6000 times more or ~$840 billion. Therefore, the total cost will be $4.840 x 1012. If we divide it by our population of ~330,000,00 it would cost each of us over $14,600, but spread out over the next 26 years results in about $564/year per person. If all of this is true, the transition to 2050 will be costly. Is it worth it?