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.
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.
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…
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