The COVID-19-caused economic crunch has been difficult for both fossil resources and renewables. But there are positive developments in battery storage and renewable electricity generation. We'll discuss those trends on this week's Energy Gang podcast.

First, we’ll look at the record-breaking activity in battery storage.

A coal plant in North Dakota will be replaced in part with a one-acre battery array from Form Energy that uses a new technology capable of discharging for 150 hours that’s more than 30 times longer than lithium batteries. 

Hawaii’s electric utility just awarded contracts for 16 projects that add up to more than 3 gigawatt-hours of storage, in order to replace an oil-fired plant and a coal-fired plant. 

And in California, Southern California Edison signed contracts for 770 megawatts of batteries, many paired with solar projects, to replace gas plants. That’s 200 megawatts more than the entire battery capacity installed in 2019.

Plus, in China, more hybrid wind/solar and battery plants are starting to emerge. 

This led Dan Finn-Foley, Wood Mackenzie’s head of energy storage, to declare: “The utility energy storage market is blowing through milestones faster than we can report them.”

Then, renewables are surging and coal is declining. A new International Energy Agency report says that renewable generation will increase in 2020, pushing higher-cost fossil resources out of the market. "In all regions that implemented lockdown measures, the electricity supply underwent a notable shift toward low-carbon energy sources," concludes the IEA report.

Finally, presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden just unveiled a new climate task force. From the Sunrise Movement to a former EPA chief, we’ll talk about who’s on it and look at their roles. What will this task force accomplish in terms of agenda-setting and establishing the political tone?

Recommended reading:

  • GTM: ‘Blowing Through Milestones’: Hawaiian Electric Picks Winners in Solar-Storage Bonanza
  • GTM: Long Duration Breakthrough? Form Energy’s First Project Tries Pushing Storage to 150 Hours
  • Bloomberg: China’s Great Energy Shift Sets Mega Hybrid Plants in Motion
  • Inside Climate News: With Planned Closing of North Dakota Coal Plant, Energy Transition Comes Home to Rural America
  • E&ENews: How Lockdowns Boost Renewables and Harm Coal
  • GTM: WoodMac: Global Solar Market Set to Resume Growth in 2021 as Coronavirus Impact Fades
  • Carbon Brief: Will China Build Hundreds of New Coal Power Plants in the 2020s?
  • Inside Climate News: Biden Names Ocasio-Cortez, Kerry to Lead His Climate Task Force, Bridging Democrats’ Divide
  • The Verge: How the Left Is Trying to Fix Biden

The Energy Gang is brought to you by Sungrow, the leading global supplier of inverter solutions for renewables. During these uncertain times, Sungrow is committed to protecting its employees and continuing to reliably serve its customers around the world. Sungrow has also leveraged its extensive network across the United States to distribute face masks to communities in need.