The Future Arrives For Five Clean Energy Technologies
The past few weeks have been dedicated to the discussion of whether New York is ready for solar energy, methods for engaging with solar, and how going solar can have a positive impact on low-income communities. One continuing problem with solar energy, however, has been storage of solar for later use or transportation. Based on a recent Department of Energy report, Revolution…Now: The Future Arrives for Five Clean Energy Technologies, problems with storage and transportation of solar energy may be a concern of the past.
What the report shows is a drastic decrease in the costs of Utility-scale (64) and Domestic (54%) solar since 2008. More importantly, however, Model Battery costs have seen a 73% reduction in costs since 2008. In addition to these astonishing decreases in costs, energy efficient LED light bulbs have seen a 94% decrease, while Land-based Wind has seen a 41% decrease in costs since 2008.
The costs reduction in these technologies are incredible, but they do not paint the whole picture. Since 2008 there has been an equally impressive increase in grid-connected battery storage capacity, where storage capacity has almost 10-fold. This reduction in costs is expected to continue as technologies in “smart buildings,” light-weight materials, and 3-D printing continues to develop. The result, according to the Department of Energy, is “the total domestic energy storage market could be worth $2.9 billion by 2021, as compared to $350 million in 2015.” This projection does not take into account the potential for reusing batteries, which could further increase the market in domestic energy storage.
So why are reductions in battery costs and increases in storage so important?
Grid-connected batteries are vital to solar and wind energy and these energy sources will become more viable as a result of the decreasing costs of storage. Not only do decreasing costs ensure that utilities and government agencies will need to seriously consider transitioning to sustainable energies; it also means that sustainable energies will increasingly become available to the large numbers of consumers. As a result, consumers will increasingly have options to make ethical, environmental, and financial decisions by investing in sustainable energy.
Finally, decreasing costs in these five technologies and increased storage capacity for sustainable energies play a crucial role in the concept of creating resilient urban centers, a topic that will be addressed over the coming weeks.