2018 was big for energy storage, but 2019 looks set to be the year things get really interesting. The range and cost of energy storage can now silence the 'intermittency' of renewables critics. Storage can be deployed much faster, much cheaper, and provide more and better services than even gas-peaker plants. Not only, as quoted, can solar & storage be built cheaper, questioning the sense in building new gas peakers, what of the ever increasing fossil fuel generation and peaker plants becoming stranded assets?
S&P Global reports the cost of solar with battery backup dropped precipitously in 2018. In a few cases in the sunny Southwest region of the United States, several tenders for solar plus storage came in at under $30 per megawatt-hour last year. Stand alone prices for installed battery storage dropped 40% from the previous year to $357 per kilowatt-hour and are expected to keep falling. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects a further 52% reduction by 2030. Such tumbling prices have led Wood Mackenzie to forecast that as the market for solar plus storage matures, could put more than 6,400 MW of new natural gas-fired peaking capacity in the US at risk by 2027. “I can beat a gas peaker anywhere in the country today with a solar-plus-storage power plant,” says Tom Buttgenbach, CEO of developer 8minutenergy Renewables.