Interview (Susan Eustis)

Susan Eustis,
President at WinterGreen Research

“Please tell us about ‘Global Renewable Energy - Making Renewable Energy the Only Global Energy’ Report. What are the key outcomes of the report?”

Utility-scale energy storage emerges as the next-generation power source, a replacement for fuels, a replacement for oil, gas, and coal. Fuels send poison into the air, renewables do not. With energy storage, solar and wind become standalone power sources, they can provide a consistent supply of electricity, even when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.

Renewable energy has always been something that is an adjunct to the grid, but with the emergence of new platform storage technology that makes utility-scale energy storage viable, the renewable energy sources become viable on their own.

We looked at the GDP of the entire world and calculated the cost to implement enough utility-scale energy storage to replace the existing fuel-driven power to generate electricity, and it turns out that to implement utility-scale energy storage, the cost is less than 2% of GDP per year. By the year 2033, all the fuel generated electricity generated can be replaced by utility-scale energy storage implementations.

In this case, utility-scale energy storage becomes the next generation of the oil and gas industry, replacing the carbon emissions with storage devices, storage projects that are assets, the last 30 years, and can be financed.
New solar farms and offshore wind projects provide sufficient power to fill the utility-scale energy storage systems with power.

The study determined that the installation of utility-scale energy storage needs to be financed much as the railroads were, by the bankers and the financiers.

The leadership of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple in implementing green energy programs is probably the most viable model. For the tech companies, the leadership of the companies was important, the executives were leaders. In addition, and as important, is the fact that the executives were responsive to the people who worked in the company and who really, really wanted their companies to be leaders in renewable energy.

It is clear that most of the people in the world feel in a manner similar to what the tech company employees expressed, that we need to move to renewable energy. We can look at the example of the auto industry where customers are demanding electric vehicles because they do not want to throw carbon pollution into the air anymore. WinterGreen Research predicts that by 2025 all the cars sold will be electric.

So, the outcome of the WinterGreen Research Utility-Scale Energy study is that worldwide, employees need to push their company to install utility-scale energy storage. The initiative needs to come from the employees and the businesses, the politicians will not do it, they are too corrupt, they depend on campaign contributions from the oil and gas and coal industries. So, this installation of utility-scale energy storage needs to come from the businesses.

Children and young people can talk to their parents, young people can create a movement that is positive and productive rather than being negative and scolding. People, leaders, can call for the emerging next-generation power source, utility-scale energy storage. Siemens and Tesla are among the leading companies offering viable products.

New and emerging technology will come from lithium batteries and flow generators. Lithium batteries and flow generators based on lithium are most often used for electricity storage. Flow batteries are seen as ideal for large-scale, long-duration storage because they can store large amounts of energy using scalable tanks of relatively cheap electrolyte.

“What are the current key trends witnessed in the global renewable energy sector?”

Key trends related to the emergence of the new utility-scale technology that has repeatable manufacturing at scale capability. Besides, this new technology is an asset that can be financed, we are no longer dependent on governments to finance and develop projects, the renewable energy is competitive and represents next-generation technology for the new industrial revolution.

“In today’s time, organizations are pledging to 100 percent RE & accomplishing the Zero Carbon Emission goal. In your view, what kind of market evolution do we see in the imminent times?”

We see the rapid growth of these utility-scale energy storage markets, 100% per year or faster for the next several years. Growth may be quite a bit more rapid. As often happens with early-stage next-generation technology, the growth is calculated in terms of penetration rates which are often at 500 % or 1000% growth for the first few years. That is the situation with utility-scale energy storage. It is a new paradigm. It represents change, but not as radical a change as one might think.

The oil, gas, and coal companies think utility-scale energy storage is radical, horrible even because their existing market goes away. But, if they invest in utility-scale energy storage, they will succeed as companies because they understand power systems, power delivery, power distribution, and the like.

Their fate is not horrible if they invest in next-generation technology. With next-generation energy storage, the money being spent on power generation is just being spent in other places, it is not new money, it is just a shift in budgeting for power. Utility-scale energy storage is a shift in how energy is made, and how it is made available to consumers, and how it is made available to companies.

Energy storage at the utility-scale represents a major new market opportunity. As energy storage market saturation begins to happen, market growth slows, but we are not looking at that until 2033 or so.

“The study recommends that investment worth $70 trillion would be required to bring the world to 100% renewable energy. Can you please elaborate on this?”

The $70 trillion is a calculation made by WinterGreen Research based on the number of storage platforms needed to capture renewable energy and store it as it is created. The detailed calculation is based on looking at the total energy use of each country and the capabilities of the different energy storage systems to meet the needs of each country. After we did this calculation, the team noticed that the World Bank had estimated the cost at $60 trillion a few years ago, so we felt this $70 trillion number was fairly accurate since it had been calculated completely independently.

If you look at the current investment in energy being made, and the market opportunities to participate in the new industrial revolution, the number to achieve $70 trillion looks do-able, it represents less than 2% of GDP through 2033. This calculation assumes strong growth in GDP as the new industrial revolution takes hold. $70 trillion is just investment in next-generation power systems, nothing more, not any new investment needed, just staying modern from existing capacity.

By 2033, the world will be converted to renewable energy, just by investing in next-generation storage (wind and solar) technology. The opportunity is now, some companies that are the initial driving forces in the market stand to benefit enormously.

The market is not a government effort, any more than building the railroads 150 years ago was a government effort, it is best left to private enterprise.

“As per the WinterGreen Research Report, Energy storage is a practical alternative to existing utility networks. How has the energy storage market developed over the years? What opportunities does the Utility-Scale Energy Storage Platform convey to the sec”

Utility-scale energy storage is brand new, there are only a few installations and they are still in the trial stage. The systems offered by Siemens and Tesla are leading-edge, the most advanced. Until now, this market has not existed, people and businesses have invested in solar and wind technology.

Only very recently has Siemens realized that energy storage is the key to making their wind turbines viable energy solutions and they invested in a partnership with AES the market leader in utility-scale energy storage.
Likewise, Tesla, Tesla has had enormous success in building and selling electric cars. Everyone who has one loves Tesla. My brother has 3, my daughter told me about a guy at her work who just ordered one, and he does not have any way to get to work until the new Tesla comes, so he is hoping it comes fast. All the research shows that people love Tesla.

Tesla has realized that its customers are not happy to buy an electric car to implement clean transportation and just have the car charged from a very dirty coal plant. So, Tesla is building and selling utility-scale solar energy storage for the home.

The study has a forecast of utility-scale energy platforms. Following is a quote from the Storage Platforms study

Energy Storage Systems Market Forecasts:

Because this is the right thing to do, to rapidly increase the use of renewable energy storage, people, companies, and banks are encouraged to start choosing to use energy storage of electricity from renewably generated electricity.
After all, companies are made up of people. People die from breathing poison. This is not something that is in question, it is reality.

Banks can be made to see the enormous competitive advantage to be attained in lending into a high growth energy storage industry, lending against energy storage assets that provide a rapid and large return on investment once they look at the numbers in a dispassionate matter, through the lens of reality.

The global energy storage market is anticipated to grow extremely rapidly as renewable solar and wind turbine capacity is put in place. Renewable energy does not work unless there are plentiful storage and energy management systems in place to support the uneven collection of electrical power that is part of gathering renewable energy. While renewable energy is potentially very powerful, it is also unevenly collected. Sometimes the sun shines, sometimes it is cloudy or dark out.

Sometimes the wind blows and sometimes the wind does not blow as hard or at all. Utility-scale energy storage systems have been developed to even things out, provide a steady flow of electricity even for the unevenly operating renewable energy systems. The energy storage systems work and have reached a point where several different kinds are investment-grade systems.

$2.6 Trillion Market by 2026:

Energy storage systems markets are expected to reach $2.6 trillion by 2026, compared to a market size of $4.4 billion in 2019. The utility-scale storage promises to dominate the market for energy storage.

“The report also talks about the rising adoption of E-Mobility globally. Please tell us more about this emerging trend?”

5G systems leverage smartphone technology to implement all manner of advances in communication and smart device implementation. Electric cars have autonomous features that depend on the roll-out of 5 G.Medical devices will be able to talk to each outer, insulin pumps will be able to respond to the meter readings on the patient and automatically administer just the right amount of drug. Medical devices will become much smaller and smarter.

All this depends on the wide availability of cheap power that the solar and wind systems, in combination with the utility-scale energy storage, give us. E-Mobility brings a new industrial revolution, robots, drones, advanced medical devices, automated package delivery, advanced military systems, and smart cities. Investment in utility-scale energy storage makes this possible.

“With energy storage being the key for future sustainable power generation needs, what are your views on the global renewable energy sector in the upcoming times?”

As the utility-scale storage platforms roll out, economies of scale will be achieved and the costs of systems will become increasingly affordable. As soon as the energy storage platform is in place, local solar and wind capacity will be put in place to provide power to the utility-scale energy storage platform. This will drive the rapid acceptance of next-generation power systems.

To the extent they are willing and able, the oil and gas producers will adopt next-generation utility-scale energy storage as their product set. Surely the Saudi’s are ready to do that, already they have systems that desalinate the seawater and they have sophisticated solar systems. As Harvard educated corporate executives, as men with an abundance of wealth and money free to invest, and as inhabitants of the hot, hot desert, they are attuned to the need for next-generation power systems.

They have the money to invest in building utility-scale storage and they are expected to be market leaders in this next-generation platform for energy.

New technology will be developed that also decreases the cost of utility-scale energy storage systems implementation. The same is true for the offshore wind farms and solar farms, the economies of scale will make it very attractive to install next-generation systems.

Like the barons of old that built the railroads, the financiers that build energy storage platforms will become very wealthy and accumulate enough wealth to last many, many generations.

Interview 12/02/2020 by Moulin
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