US: Decarbonizing the U.S. power grid rapidly will cost $4.5 T, out of which the lion’s share is for the estimated 900 GW of storage capacity required according to a new report from the energy consultancy and research firm Wood Mackenzie.
A huge rollout of wind and solar power generation, a reinforced transmission network and the vast deployment of energy storage will be required.
The report by Wood Mackenzie found that by slowing down this process, to a conclusion in 2050, the cost can be severely curtailed. This is largely due to the benefit of falling costs in energy storage hardware, as well as those of wind and solar. Both of the latter are further along their cost reduction curves than energy storage.
In total, more than 1,600 GW of new solar and wind power is required. There is currently 130 GW installed.
Purists determined to see 100% renewable energy may be persuaded by the dramatic cost reduction impact of switching to a mix of 80% renewables and 20% from existing natural gas assets. When modeled, this combination lowered the cost of renewable energy by 20% and knocked 60% off the bill for energy storage assets.