Large U.S. technology companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are investing in powering data centres with renewable energy. Bloomberg New Energy Finance data shows a record take-up of 13.6 gigawatts (GW) capacity, contracted by U.S. companies under either corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) or green tariffs.
Falling technology costs for battery storage systems, down half over the last two years, have made batteries the cheapest new-build technology for peaking purposes in gas-importing regions, like China or Japan. Pairing renewables with battery storage is cost competitive with open-cycle gas peaking units, Bloomberg New Energy Finance finds.
Falling costs for lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen electrolysers have rendered both technologies ready for mass commercialization. The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects the cost of 4-hour battery systems to fall to $220/kWh by 2040, so utility-scale battery deployment could reach nearly 220 GW by 2040.
Large tech players – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft – are migrating hyperscale data centres to renewable energy. Some 10% of new solar and wind power projects in the U.S. are now underpinned by corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and often backed up by onsite energy storage units.
New technologies to produce green hydrogen will allow for 34% of global emissions to be cut “at manageable cost,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance finds. Excess renewable energy can be turned into hydrogen at $0.8 to $1.6/kg in most parts of the world before 2050, which would make it competitive with gas prices in Brazil, China, India and Germany.
Travel bans, imposed in the United States to contain the coronavirus, have halted commissioning works on energy storage facilities, delayed grid connections and threatens to undermine project economics. Wood Mackenzie expects 31% less behind-the-meter energy storage units will be installed in the U.S. this year.
Shutdowns are lifted in China and South Korea, allowing battery supply chains to ramp back up while rivals in Europe and North America are in lockdown. Electric vehicle sales stayed strong through February, according to Wood Mackenzie, and China’s labour force is returning, expected to be at 70% in March and over 90% in April.