Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK could soon largely depend on variable renewable energy (VRE), as an additional 169 GW of wind and 172 GW of solar power is planned to be grid-connected by 2040. Purpose-built flexibility assets, like gas generators and energy storage, are indispensible for this transition.
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.