According to a new report by BloombergNEF (BNEF), solar-plus-storage could soon become the most financially attractive renewable energy generation option in the United States.
In California, for instance, solar-plus-storage is already competing with combined-cycle gas generators for being the lowest-cost generation asset.
In this regard, regions with access to cheap natural gas may still take a bit longer to address the transition, the report adds.
Solar-plus-storage: Financially viable?
Battery storage and renewable energy could represent 70-80% of the country’s electric generation one day.
However, if the U.S. wants to meet its net-zero goals, companies will need to provide more cost-competitive solutions for seasonal energy storage.
The transition to an increase in renewable energy and natural gas generation has been happening for about a time. However, the shift from gas to solar-plus-storage may be already on the run to be at the forefront.
BNEF’s report shows solar-plus-storage has begun to displace open cycle gas turbines.
About 60% of open cycle turbines didn’t run more than six hours in 2019. Nevertheless, combined-cycle gas generators are, at least for now, the least cost option for power generation.
In this regard, the report highlights it could still take some time for solar-plus-storage to replace combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGTs); but it will indeed happen in the long run, experts foresee.
Experts also foresee regulatory decisions to play an essential role in the transition to renewables-plus-storage.
Some states will face slower transitions due to conservative administrations; however, even with loose regulations, the country will do this change.
In fact, in some cases, solar-plus-storage is already more cost-effective than natural gas. According to the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), several power suppliers build competitive solar-plus-storage resources.
Possibly of your interest: Invenergy develops the largest solar complex in the U.S.
Although the process is already underway, this cycle of decreasing clean energy costs has a limit.
To achieve a 100% renewable energy goal with today’s technologies is possible; however, clean energy plus batteries would still have cost-competitive, only up to 70-80% of the total generation mix.
Therefore, seasonal storage capacity will be needed, probably exceeding the renewable energy, storage, and natural gas mix costs.