New tool predicts profitability of electric power and storage

Calculation of possibilities

When it comes to renewables, production and storage are two facets of technology that must be addressed simultaneously. For the latter, the development of electric cars and lithium-ion battery storage projects seems to be the number one factor. Yet compared to their fossil fuels counterparts, the future of these technologies remains largely uncertain.

To this end, researchers at Imperial College London have developed a new tool that could help predict costs and outcomes for electric cars and household batteries. In a study published in the journal Natural energy, the Imperial researchers demonstrated how their tool could be used. They predicted that electric cars could compete with gasoline by 2022 and that household batteries could become competitive by the 2030s.

“An informed understanding of the potential future costs of electricity storage technologies is essential to quantify their adoption as well as the adoption of low-carbon storage-based technologies,” the researchers wrote.

Towards more efficient adoption

Their prediction tool was the result of compiling data from the installed capacity and price of energy storage technologies – like Tesla’s Powerpack – over time. It could be used to determine how costs would decrease in the future as investments increase installed capacity.

“With this analytical tool, we can quantify when energy storage becomes competitive and identify where to invest to get there, thereby minimizing investor and policy uncertainty,” said Oliver Schmidt, Principal Investigator at the Grantham Institute and from the Center for Environmental Policy at Imperial Oil. in a press release.

In short, it could help investors and policymakers make informed decisions about the future of renewables, electric vehicles and energy storage devices. As another example, the team predicted that electric vehicles could catch up with gasoline in cost terms by 2034 at the latest, given current oil prices. The introduction of Tesla’s low-cost electric vehicle, the Model 3, could also affect the outcome.

As co-author Iain Staffel of the Center for Environmental Policy explained: “This tool allows us to tackle one of the greatest uncertainties in the future energy system and use real data to answer questions such as how electricity storage could revolutionize the power generation industry. , or when large capacity home storage batteries linked to personal solar panels could become profitable. “

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