Perspective on the energy transition

Perspective on the energy transition

Fecha: enero 2020

Seb Henbest

Transición energética, Energías renovablesBaterias

Papeles de Energía, N.º 8 (enero 2020)

Primary energy masks the important role of electricity and the growth and future potential of renewable energy. The “Phase I” decarbonization technologies of wind, solar PV, electric vehicles and stationary lithium-ion batteries are all on track for another record year of deployment in 2019, as technology cost continue to fall with every unit deployed. Today wind or PV is the cheapest new-build electricity for two-thirds of the world population and will soon undercut commissioned coal and gas plants. Cheaper batteries help renewables reach higher value hours when the wind isn’t blowing or sun isn’t shining. Battery costs are down 87% since 2010 as auto manufacturers push more models into the market. Uptake should accelerate from 2023 when EVs start to hit upfront price parity with ICE alternatives causing oil demand from road fuels to peak around 2030. Cheap variable renewables form the backbone of the new electricity system reaching as higher as 80% in some markets when supported by smart EV changing, batteries and peaker plants. Coal-fired electricity peaks in 2026 undercut by cheaper renewable and batteries as well as more flexible gas. Achieving net-zero emissions however ask serious questions about energy transition pathways for industry and buildings. And while going electric isn’t a universal solution and renewables are not a one-size-fits-all solution, deploying the “Phase I” technologies to their full potential can make a big dent in emissions and buy time for development of “Phase II”.

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