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Bloomberg Markets: A Deluge of Batteries Is About to Rewire the Power Grid

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is spending about $2 billion a year on these technologies. The company says it wants to become the largest electrical power company in the world by the early 2030s.

By David Stringer: 3 August 2019, 01:00 BST

By 2050 solar and wind will supply almost half the world’s electricity, bringing to an end an energy era dominated by coal and gas, according to forecasts by BloombergNEF, Bloomberg LP’s primary research service on energy transition.

It can’t happen without storage. The switch from an electricity system supplied by large fossil fuel plants that run virtually uninterrupted to a more haphazard mix of smaller, intermittent renewable sources needs energy storage to overcome two key hurdles: using power harvested during the day to supply peak energy demand in the evening and ensuring there’s power available even when the wind drops or the sun goes down.

“We think storage can be the leapfrog technology that’s really needed in a world that’s focused on dramatic climate change,” says Mary Powell, chief executive officer of Green Mountain Power Corp., a utility based in Colchester, Vt., that’s worked with Tesla to deploy more than 2,000 residential storage batteries. “It’s the killer app in a vision to move away from bulk delivery systems to a community-, home-, and business-based energy system.”

Oil giants are also investing in storage. Through its New Energies division, Royal Dutch Shell Plc is spending about $2 billion a year on these technologies. The company says it wants to become the largest electrical power company in the world by the early 2030s. In addition to acquiring a U.K. electricity provider and a car-charging operator, Shell this year bought Germany’s Sonnen GmbH, a leading supplier of residential storage systems. In May, Shell announced plans to install industrial-scale batteries at two facilities in Ontario, a crude refinery and a motor oil plant.

FULL BLOOMBERG ARTICLE

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