North Carolina-based utility provider Duke Energy is betting on the rise of increasingly efficient battery technology to propel the rise of solar and wind power over the next five years, according to a new report by Forbes.
“There’s going to be a lot of excitement around batteries in the next five years. And I would say that the country will get blanketed with projects,” Duke Energy business development managing director Spencer Hanes said on Thursday as part of a conference in Chicago.
The cost of generating and storing solar power has dropped from $800 per kilowatt hour to $281 over the past four years. Steeper drops are ahead, experts said at the Solar Power Midwest conference.
"The momentums and drivers behind actual installed solar-storage projects are things like backup power and energy independence, and there's a little bit of a screw-my-utility kind of attitude," Adam Gerza of the solar software firm Energy Toolbase, said at the panel with Hanes. "In one word, it's almost like emotion."
The increasing popularity of electric cars, which are charged either at home or at special stations powered by the sun and wind, drives down costs by increasing demand. Though American drivers are slower to jump on the electric car bandwagon than their European and Chinese counterparts, the rise in quality and capacity of lithium ion-batteries benefits energy independents worldwide. Related: The Next Big Digital Disruption In Energy
Government policies regarding renewables still lag behind, those at the forum said.
"If a person wants solar plus storage on their home and it doesn't make perfect economic sense—we all do things in our lives that don't make economic sense," Hanes said. "The point is, the future is coming where it's going to make sense, and we need to get ready for it and start developing the policies and the rules to let it happen."
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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