Last week the Coalition formally announced that the leadership has given up on coal and capitulated to the RE lobbies. The idea is to use gas to fill the gaps in supply as the coal stations close and RE takes over. At the same time storage capacity has to be enhanced to get over the awkward moments when there is no contribution from the wind and the sun.
Innovative technologies are the keys to this exercise in squaring the circle and after long deliberation the government nominated five elements in the plan, the winners in the Technology Roadmap Lotto as I think of them.
Generous quantities of money will be handed out to support initiatives in those areas and many organizations and their staff will do very well. We look forward to regular announcements of spectacular progress, or at least possible breakthroughs on all these fronts.
The cost and capacity of batteries.
The cost of batteries coming down is the second major bet placed by government in the technology road map.
Where is the evidence that significant advances are being achieved in the cost and capacity of batteries? Are they still betting on Moore’s law, the idea that capacity will double every couple of years as it has done for data storage? The size of the battery at Hornsdale wind farm in SA has been doubled (correction, increased by 50%), is there any evidence that the cost of the second stage was cheaper than the first?
In November 2019, Neoen announced that it would increase the battery capacity by 50%. The expansion would cost A$71 million, funded by A$15 million from the state government, A$8 million from ARENA and up to A$50 million in cheap loans through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
I have seen figures up to $90 million for the first 109MWh so if it cost $71 million to get 50% more I don’t see any reduction in the cost of storage. How cheap is the money we are lending them via the Clean Energy Finance Corporation?