CSIRO’s Amazing Predictions for Low Cost Battery Storage and Hydrogen Chlorinators

CSIRO predicted that battery-powered storage and hydrogen electrolyzer technologies will continue to experience startling cost reductions as adoption increases, which can be accelerated by governments adopting more ambitious change policies. climate.

On Friday, CSIRO released the draft consultation for its latest iteration of its annual GenCost assessment, which includes calculations and projections for the expected cost of a range of power generation technologies.

The GenCost assessment reconfirmed that wind and solar technologies continue to hold the status of the cheapest sources of electricity supply.

CSIRO found that the costs of integrating variable renewable energy sources were modest and did not prevent wind and solar from remaining cheaper than coal and gas generators, even after taking into account the costs of new grid infrastructure and backup storage, and at high renewable shares.

For the first time, CSIRO has also included cost projections for electrolysers used in producing hydrogen using electricity – showing expected cost reductions each year for at least the next three decades.

CSIRO included projections under three climate policy scenarios; a “current policies” scenario in which no new policy measures are introduced, a “net zero emissions by 2050” scenario where climate ambition is considerably strengthened and a “net zero emissions after 2050” scenario where the world reaches net zero emissions, but not until the second half of the century.

The GenCost report shows that the costs of electrolyzers (the graph below includes projections for the cost of polymer electrolytic membrane electrolyzers), fall by more than 90% over the next three decades as the global demand for hydrogen increases. .

“The deployment of electrolyzers is supported by a significant number of hydrogen supply and end-use trials around the world and in Australia,” says the GenCost report.

“Experience with other emerging technologies indicates that this type of globally coincident technology deployment activity can lead to a scale up of manufacturing that supports cost reductions through cost savings. ‘ladder.”

Such electrolysers can be powered by wind and solar energy, creating the potential for a low-cost, zero-emission hydrogen supply that could be used to decarbonize a wide range of hard-to-scale industries, including the production of metals and heavy transport fuels.

While the costs of hydrogen electrolyzers are expected to experience rapid cost reductions of a similar magnitude in each climate policy scenario, GenCost’s assessment shows that the most ambitious scenarios would have a much larger impact on storage costs. batteries.

If governments adopted policies consistent with achieving a transition to net zero emissions by 2050, the GenCost report suggests that this would help dramatically accelerate reductions in battery storage costs by helping to achieve greater savings in battery storage. ‘ladder.

For example, battery costs could fall by more than 55% by 2030 with a global trajectory of net zero emissions by 2050. Battery costs are expected to fall further by around 20% by the end of this year. the decade, even within the current political parameters.

By 2030, the GenCost report suggests that the discounted cost of 8 hours of battery storage would start to drop below $ 150 per MWh, almost half the expected cost of the technology under current policy settings.

Comparing these costs to other ‘hardening’ technologies, this would see 8 hours of battery storage become cheaper than the equivalent-sized pumped hydropower storage ($ 311 per MWh in 2030) and start to compete directly with gasoline. large peak open-cycle gas production (between $ 111 and $ 177 per MWh) before carbon capture and storage costs are factored in.

“Batteries have been able to maintain high rates of cost reduction over time and the use of different scenario learning rates has meant that projections may reflect some uncertainty as to their ability to continue to achieve. historical trends in cost reduction, ”the report said.

“The deployment of the battery is the largest in the Global NZE scenario by 2050, reflecting a greater deployment of variable renewables, increasing the storage needs of the electricity sector and higher adoption of electric vehicles to support the achievement of net zero emissions by 2050. Coupled with an assumed high learning rate, this leads to the fastest reduction in costs. “

With the cost of pumped hydropower storage projects, the same dramatic cost reductions are unlikely to be achieved – hydropower being a long established technology with less opportunity for cost improvements – storage by battery will probably become the cheapest option for medium-term storage (up to 8 hours) before the end of the decade.

The GenCost assessments are a key contribution to the development of the Australian energy market operator’s integrated system plans, which have predicted dramatic increases in renewable energy use and investment in battery storage technologies and of hydrogen due to the dramatic drop in costs.

The recently released Draft Integrated System Plan 2022 included a dramatic ‘hydrogen superpower’ scenario, in which Australia plays a leading role as a global supplier of zero-emission hydrogen, powered by 255 GW. wind power and 300 GW of installed solar capacity by 2050.

In this scenario, AEMO predicts that Australia’s total electricity production would increase nearly sevenfold by 2050 while removing coal and fossil gas generators entirely from the system, in order to meet demand. potentially growing renewable electricity from a massively expanded renewable hydrogen industry.

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