Clean Energy Technology is advancing at a formative pace and is on the cusp of becoming an everyday part of our culture, much as the smartphone has since it was introduced a decade ago.
What’s driving this revolution? Electric vehicles (EV’s).
We are excited about this development because renewable energy sources like solar benefit directly from these technological gains.
First, let’s get our arms around the global automobile market.
In 2017, over 93 million automobiles of all types were sold worldwide. China purchased more vehicles than any other country with 28 million, and the United States was a distant second at 17 million. Even more impressive, China’s automobile sales have doubled in the last 6 years, and there are expectations for continuing growth. On a per capita basis, China’s population owns only 154 automobiles per 1000 inhabitants, compared to the United States where we own 910 per 1000! And there are 4 times as many EV’s sold in China as there are in the United States. Global EV sales are increasing by 60-70% annually and should top 2 million in 2018.
As the electric vehicle (EV) market grows, technological advances are making EV’s an ever more compelling next step from the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE).
Why the EV?
● The ICE is only 18% efficient and is nearing the end of its century-long product lifecycle. The Electric Motor is at least 5X more efficient.
● The ICE Automobile has some 2000 moving parts. The EV has less than 20 moving parts.
● The ICE Automobile has an average lifespan of 250,000 miles. EV’s are being built today to last 1 million miles.
● EV’s will cost less than ICE Automobiles within 3-4 years and have over a 250-mile range.
● EV’s produce no direct carbon emissions.
What’s the technology driving the EV Revolution?
Energy Storage solutions like Lithium-Ion Batteries. There are at least 10 mega factories on this planet pouring billions into energy storage research, and the global market will reach $80 Billion within 2 years. As companies like Tesla invest in battery technology, the cost curve is bringing prices for Lithium-Ion Technology down at a rate of 20% per year.
What does this mean for Renewable Energy?
It opens the door for the rapid introduction of Distributed Energy Generation, wherein homes, businesses, farms, and industry can economically transition off-grid by deploying Solar Energy plus Energy Storage.
When will EV’s become economically advantageous?
It started in 2017. Let’s do the math. The nationwide average Transmission, Distribution, and Administration (TDA) cost for utilities is 2.9 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWhour). Their incremental cost for producing each additional kilowatt-hour is 3 cents per kWhour. Simple addition yields an average net cost of 5.9 cents per kilowatt-hour, not counting shareholder returns (profits). This rate is increasing 2.9% year according to the nationwide average Utility Inflation Index.
• Last year, Tucson Electric signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Energy Storage for 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour!
• And, it costs our nation’s utilities on average 5.9 cents per kilowatt-hour (30% more) to bring that energy to your home or buisness
The Bottom Line on the Economics of Renewable Energy
The cost of installed Solar Energy continues to drop by 7% per year, and the cost of energy storage is falling by 20% per year. The cost of energy delivered by our nation’s utilities is rising and is no longer competitive with Renewable Solar Energy.
Greenhouse emissions in the United States greenhouse declined for the first time in 2007-08, and have continued a gradual reduction since. We now produce just under 7 trillion tons of carbon dioxide annually, with transportation and electricity generation making up 56% of the total.
The Clean Energy Revolution paves the way for both a more economical method of energy generation and storage and a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions!