After centuries of dominance, fossil fuels are set to lose their spot at the top of the energy podium.
According to Jeremy Oppenheim, Partner at systems change company Systemiq, “We are hitting peak oil. Over the next 20 to 30 years there will be a rewiring of the economy on the basis of clean electrons and electrification. This will change everything.”
This rewiring is already well underway. In the decade between 2010 and 2020, solar and wind together went from producing 1.7% of the world’s electricity to 9.3%1, a rise that far outstripped industry expectations. With renewable power now outcompeting fossil fuels on price, this rapid growth looks set to continue.
Missing from these impressive figures, though, is the vital question of how to store all this energy over long periods of time. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable generation cannot simply be turned on and off at will – for renewables to successfully kick fossil fuels into touch, we must have a way to store the excess energy generated on blustery and sunny days, ready for days when the wind is resting or the sun reluctant to shine.
Rapid scale-up needed
Since 2010, as electric vehicles (EVs) have gone from niche to mainstream, the cost of lithium-ion batteries has fallen 90%2. This sharp drop is now enabling the mass adoption of batteries in the power grid3.
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