Which research-focused stories got the most traffic last year? Below, a few pieces from 2019 that are worth catching up on.
The Energy Transition in 4 Charts (August 2019)
In August, Wood Mackenzie released four charts summarizing the global energy transition. The figures include carbon emissions scenarios through 2040, plus annual solar, storage and wind forecasts through 2025. It’s the story of the century: There is little evidence that the energy transition will move fast enough to stop the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, despite dramatic increases in wind, solar energy and energy storage deployment around the world.
4 Takeaways From Amazon’s Huge Electric Delivery Van Order (September 2019)
Another popular research spotlight from 2019 was Grid Edge Research Director Ben Kellison’s analysis of Amazon’s massive electric vehicle order. The order of 100,000 electric delivery vans was a milestone for the industry, larger than any other EV purchase to date by a significant margin. “The Amazon-Rivian deal will ripple through the electric vehicle and electric utility industry, creating new urgency around questions for fleet owners, utilities and regulators regarding the velocity of the energy transition and the impact on the electric grid,” wrote Kellison.
Global Energy Storage to Hit 158 Gigawatt-Hours by 2024, Led by U.S. and China (April 2019)
In Wood Mackenzie’s first-ever global energy storage market report, analysts found that the global energy storage market will hit 158 gigawatt-hours by 2024, which has since been updated. In this piece, analysts note that the maturing 2020-2024 storage market will look very different from the emerging market of the 2010s as batteries sink further in price and new market and regulatory changes open up additional revenue streams. Batteries will become a key grid asset during the first half of the 2020s, and long-duration projects will start to displace diesel, oil and natural-gas plants.
U.S. Surpasses 2 Million Solar Installations as Industry Looks to Dominate the 2020s (May 2019)
It took 40 years to reach the first million solar installations in the United States (1976-2016). Only three years later, WoodMac’s solar analysts reported that the U.S. had hit 2 million installations. Solar Energy Industries Association President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper noted that “rapid growth in the solar industry has completely reshaped the energy conversation in this country.”
WoodMac: Solar Plants Cheaper Than Natural Gas "Just About Everywhere" by 2023 (May 2019)
The solar industry got more good news in May, when WoodMac announced that it will be cheaper to build new solar plants than new combined-cycle gas plants almost anywhere in the world by 2023. In the same article, solar analyst Tom Heggarty also noted that although India and China did not install as much solar in 2018 as had been expected, other markets, such as Australia, Saudi Arabia and Europe, saw meaningful growth.
The Reality Behind Green Hydrogen’s Soaring Hype
Can Solar and Batteries Outlast an Extended Power Outage?
ERCOT’s Wild Summer Is Over. Solar Looks Like the Winner
Eight Countries (Besides the U.S.) With Solar Under $25 per Megawatt-Hour
Two relevant upcoming research webinars: An Accelerated View of the Energy Transition (January 14) and A New Chapter for the North American Wind Market (January 30).