Big Batteries Biting Into Power Market

February 12, 2018


A decade ago I argued to a group of skeptical engineers that solar PV was now on an unstoppable trajectory.
At that time, new PV in California was just starting to beat out gas turbine plants in head to head bidding for “peaking” power in hot summer afternoons.  That meant, more production, more economies of scale, and a positive feedback of market forces.
One by one, you could see the light bulbs come on in the room…

It’s happening again.

Wall Street Journal:

Giant batteries charged by renewable energy are beginning to nibble away at a large market: The power plants that generate extra surges of electricity during peak hours.

Known as peakers, the natural-gas-fired plants are expensive to run, and typically called into service only when demand rises and regular supplies are insufficient. That makes them vulnerable to disruption from lithium-ion batteries, which have fallen in price in recent years, and are emerging as a competitive alternative for providing extra jolts of electricity.

Numerous big batteries are under construction or consideration in the U.S., especially in the Southwest, where some companies see a shiny future for “solar plus storage” projects.


…Calif. Fluence Energy LLC, a joint venture of AES Corp. and Siemens AG SIEGY +1.36% , is building a battery that could power 60,000 southern California homes for up to four hours. It will be the largest lithium-ion battery in the world—three times larger than a battery built last year by Tesla in Australia.

“It really is a substitution for building a new peaking power plant,” says John Zahurancik, chief operating officer of Fluence. “Instead of living next to a smoke stack, you will live near what looks like a big-box store and is filled with racks and rows of batteries.”


2 Responses to “Big Batteries Biting Into Power Market”

  1. Reblogged this on The Most Revolutionary Act and commented:
    Lithium storage batteries turn out to be a more cost effective method of addressing peaks in demand than repeatedly firing up gas-fueled power plants.

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    Solar and battery storage beats out “cheap” gas to meet evening peaks in Arizona and sets new milestone for dispatchable renewables => Solar plus storage beats out “cheap” gas to serve evening peaks

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