Battery storage remaking energy and maybe politics
I avoid talking politics in this blog because sustainability benefits everyone. There’s a lot we don’t agree on in this country, but increasingly there is something we do: clean energy. With battery and wind power costs plunging, installations of renewable power systems are spreading across the country, including rural, conservative states.
Eighty percent of the wind power installed during Trump’s presidency has been built in states he won, and the five most wind-dependent states were all Trump states. And while the storage boom started in blue states like California and Hawaii, it is taking off in Texas, Florida, and the rest of Red America as well. Polls suggest “clean energy” is now popular throughout the country, even though “climate action” is not, and there are now more than 3 million clean energy jobs in America, versus only 50,000 coal-mining jobs.
It’s happening so fast, forecasters can’t keep up.
The storage boom, like so many green trends in America, first took hold in California, but Ravi Manghani, the head of energy storage research at Wood MacKenzie, says it is spreading much faster than anyone expected, ending the era when power had to be distributed and used the instant it was generated.
“Every time we do a new forecast, we have to revise it up for deployment and down for cost,” says Ravi Manghani, head of energy storage research at Wood MacKenzie. “We’ve been proven wrong again and again.”
In the olden days, a few years ago, utilities claimed they would always need fossil fuel plants as base load. No more.
Rew says grid operators used to fret that they wouldn’t be able to guarantee reliability once renewables constituted 25 percent of their loads, but the Southwest Power Pool now routinely handles 50 percent and even 60 percent generation from wind while keeping the lights on without interruption. There was one afternoon last month when California’s grid was receiving more than two-thirds of its power from solar with no reliability problems at all.