Battery Storage a Game Changer in Energy Revolution

Lower costs of solar systems are helping the green energy revolution push forward but it’s the battery storage technology that’s really taking the movement to another level. Utility companies far and wide big and small see the potential of renewable energy suppliers with a quality battery storage system. Energy storage technology is really where a big paradigm shift can occur. Arizona plans to have 450 MW of battery storage available by 2021 and a additional 400 MW by 2025 so they can use stored solar energy for high demand times in the evening. These projects are also allowed to use the 30% federal tax incentive so there’s a high upside.

Renewable energy resources, boosted by robust battery deployments, will most likely become the primary source of generation of electricity in the United States over the next 10 years. Reluctance appears to be giving way as proactive and innovative solutions are brought to the market. More and more utilities are placing solar and storage on their near-term and long-term road maps!

Study Shows Wind and Solar More Cost Effective than Coal

According to a new report from Energy Innovation it would be cheaper to build new solar and wind plants compared to keeping 74% of US coal plants running. “This is not a fantasy of a supercomputer. This is really what’s happening today,” said Eric Gimon, a senior fellow at Energy Innovation. “The crossover between new renewable and coal running costs is just one important part of shutting down existing coal plants. Any decision on how to proceed will require further modeling of grid impacts and alternative sources of reliability services.” This study is meant to start the beginning of a larger conversation among policymakers, regulators, and utilities about transition plans and what justifications remain for continuing to use increasingly cost-ineffective coal. 

“We hope that by looking at the local resources available, policymakers and other stakeholders can start to think about ways of creating transition plans for those coal communities at the same time that they’re considering new options,” said Mike O’Boyle, Director of Electricity Policy at Energy Innovation. “They need to start thinking today about how to achieve those savings. The longer they wait, the more money they leave on the table and the more harm they’re allowing to come to the environment.” This is a highly complex situation though because of the reality of the grid and all the intricacies that come along with it. However, it’s exciting to see a study come out like this because it’s further evidence toward the argument of ending our reliance on fossil fuels!

Struggling to Control PG&E

PG&E is hoping to use its bankruptcy to reduce its liabilities and become a more stable company. However, it looks like they may not have much control over the outcome. Investors, lawmakers, regulators and customers are trying to take the reins on the situation even though a judge has not even had a chance to look significantly into PG&E’s financials. Also, companies that sell power to PG&E are requesting that federal regulators intervene into the bankruptcy to make sure the utility can’t renegotiate its contracts with suppliers. It’s a pretty messy situation when the California Public Utilities Commission starts studying options that include breaking up PG&E, which serves 16 million people, or turning all or parts of it into a government-owned utility. “This is the most complicated and difficult decision environment I’ve ever seen for a bankruptcy case,” said Jared A. Ellias, a professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law. “I can’t think of a bankruptcy that had this many powerful parties with unclear bargaining power.” All in all this is a very difficult situation with a lot of moving parts that will take years to fully resolve.