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.
Nearly all of Hawaii’s utility-scale energy storage is installed adjacent to onshore wind turbines or solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Pairing battery storage with wind and solar helps mitigate some operational challenges of non-dispatchable renewables, as Hawaii aspires to boost its green energy share from 30% at present to 100% by 2045.
Demand from Asia has pushed up shipments of hydrogen fuel cells beyond 1.1 GW and E4tech sees 2020 characterized by "rapid commercialization and infrastructure build out." Fuel cell vehicles and energy storage remain the largest demand drivers, with Japan’s Toyota and South Korea’s Hyundai accounting for two thirds of total shipped capacity.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Tesla have been given regulatory approval to build a 182.5 MW/730 MWh clean energy storage system that could eventually be boosted to 1.1 GWh at Moss Landing, California. Construction of the facility, based on 268 Tesla Megapack lithium-ion batteries, is due for completion by the end of 2020.
Falling technology costs, policy incentives and clean energy targets are poised to propel up energy storage deployment from currently about 4 GW annually to more than 15 GW in 2024, Wood Mackenzie forecasts. Manufacturers, developers and investors are consolidating as they compete for their slice of this burgeoning industry.