Record year for renewables as they prove as effective hedges against high energy prices – Wholesale electricity prices have risen across the world—by more than double in the U.K., Spain and Germany—driven partly by a global bidding war for gas, coal and other fuels used in heating and power. These price changes have little impact on the economics of existing wind or solar farms, which often sell their first 10 to 25 years of power at contracted rates, but it has improved the terms agreed for new projects. Renewable power is expected to become the largest source of electricity globally by 2026, making up half the mix in Europe, 40% in China and 30% in the U.S. and India, according to the IEA estimates. This will be another record year for building wind and solar farms, according to IEA. About 290 GW of generating capacity is expected to be installed, up 3% on an exceptionally strong 2020. The trend should continue with an average of 305 GW forecast annually through 2026. This is despite the inflationary pressures being faced by the renewable industry. In the past two years, freight rates have risen nearly sixfold, the cost of polysilicon used in solar panels has more than quadrupled, and prices of steel, copper and aluminum—big inputs for panels, turbines and electrical connections—are up by half or more.
Battery Pack Prices Fall to an Average of $132/kWh, But Rising Commodity Prices Start to Bite – Lithium-ion battery pack prices, which were above $1,200 per kilowatt-hour in 2010, have fallen 89% in real terms to $132/kWh in 2021 per BNEF. This is a 6% drop from $140/kWh in 2020. Continuing cost reductions bode well for the future of electric vehicles, which rely on lithium-ion technology. However, the impact of rising commodity prices and increased costs for key materials such as electrolytes has put pressure on the industry in the second half of the year.
Storage paired with renewables sees highest financial return with 2-hour batteries, Berkeley lab finds – Researchers modeled potential combinations of the myriad of choices available to today’s developers — batteries with different specifications, inverters, interconnection options and generation. Hybrid solar and wind projects both reap the greatest financial returns when paired with 2-hour duration storage, according to the lab’s analysis. Increased storage capacity and the interconnection size had the biggest impact on the project’s potential earnings, after battery duration, which turned out to be the most important factor in a project’s hypothetical financial performance. In general, the hybrid configurations that performed best in the model were those designed to take advantage of periods of peak energy pricing in order to offset the cost of the lithium-ion batteries.
Build Back Better, FERC actions on infrastructure could trigger ‘monumental’ renewable energy deployments – Interconnection delays and insufficient transmission are now the top barriers to renewable energy expansion, according to speakers participating in the first day of ACORE’s 2021 Virtual Grid Forum. A transmission tax credit currently under consideration by Congress could bring immediate relief to 22 transmission projects that are currently stalled, potentially allowing those projects to be completed within the next five to six years, said Christina Hayes, vice president of federal regulatory affairs for Berkshire Hathaway Energy. PPAs stalled due to interconnection delays could result in “monumental” levels of renewable energy deployment in 2022 and 2023 if Congress approves an infrastructure package.
Beyond the Meter – Episode 16: The State of Community Solar – In this episode of Beyond the Meter, host John Failla is joined by Terri Dalmer, Vice President of Solar Business Development at CleanChoice Energy, and Owen Grant, Business Development Manager at Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. They discuss the broad impact community solar can have on businesses and diverse communities nationwide. You won’t want to miss the insights and reflections they have to share from their over 30 years of experience.
Renewables are reliable: Pooja Goyal – Pooja Goyal, Carlyle’s Infrastructure Group Chief Investment Officer, discusses investment opportunities in clean energy and how Carlyle views renewable, storage, electric vehicle and charging infrastructure as multi-decade investments that will play out on a global scale.