BESS power costs down but coal addiction hard to break, says report

BESS power costs down but coal addiction hard to break, says report

BESS power costs down but coal addiction hard to break, says report 1024 621 Batteries International

October 11, 2023: The cost of electricity from battery storage systems has plummeted by 85% over the past decade — but governments continue to invest in coal for political reasons, according to a new report.

Innovation in technology and manufacturing has driven down the price of BESS electricity as it has for solar (87%) and wind (38%), says the study published on September 29 by the Berlin-based Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and published in the journal Energy Research & Social Science.

However, MCC’s research team says governments continue to invest in coal — for reasons such as providing jobs, tax revenue and political constraints —  “even when renewables actually have a better pay-off”.

The team cites MCC research conducted in 2022 indicating that, for many countries, high capital costs still ensure that wind or solar parks, which are more expensive per megawatt in the acquisition phase, cannot compete with coal-fired power plants.

Nevertheless, wind and solar have grown from 1.4 % of global electricity supply in 2009 to 10.2% in 2021 and continue to grow, the report says.

Jan Minx, head of the MCC, said: “Greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever and the measures taken so far are too weak, but in this politically difficult situation, technological progress provides a ray of hope.”

According to MCC’s figures, batteries “already cost less than $100 per kilowatt hour”, although the report did not give details of its cost analysis.

 The price premium for battery storage, which makes solar power flexibly available in an optimal mix, will drop from currently 100% to only 28% in 2030, the report says.

Meanwhile, utilities have begun replacing coal plants with hybrid solar-battery systems. “In 2050, experts expect 63,000 terawatt hours of solar energy to be available worldwide — twice as much as is supplied by coal today,” the report says.

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