Energy Markets at Turning Point?

Several new developments in battery technology may mean that solar, wind and hydro are more useable and competitive than ever.  The Economist thinks so

Until now, the idea that unsubsidised solar power could make enough financial sense to be competitive with conventional electricity has been largely confined to the realms of environmental campaigners and renewable energy advocates.

However, as solar panels become more efficient and vastly cheaper, and household power bills keep rising, analysts at some of the world’s largest financial institutions say such a prospect is indeed possible – and likely to cause profound disruption in the energy industry.

“We’re at a point now where demand starts to be driven by cold, hard economics rather than by subsidies and that is a game changer,” says Jason Channell of Citigroup.

As to the batteries:

Researchers at Harvard have developed an inexpensive, high capacity, organic battery that uses carbon-based materials as electrolytes rather than metals. The researchers say the technology stands to be a game-changer in renewable energy storage by solving the intermittent generation problems faced by renewable sources, such as wind and solar. The battery offers large volume electricity storage not possible with solid-state batteries and at a fraction of the cost of existing flow battery technology.

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