Jan 28, 2020

Why India needs cheap batteries

Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new International Energy Agency analysis highlights the importance of battery storage paired with renewables in helping to decarbonize power.

Why it matters: India, the focus of the analysis, is the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter (after China and the U.S.) and suffers from terrible air quality problems.

The big picture: "With ambitious plans to use renewables — particularly solar photovoltaics — to satisfy rapidly increasing electricity demand, India will be the country with the greatest need for additional flexibility in the coming decades," it states.

What they did: They looked at projected future coal-fired and renewable power capacity in India under two scenarios.

  1. Their "stated policies" case which models existing and announced plans.
  2. A "cheap batteries" case in which battery tech costs fall more quickly than recent declines.

What they found: The "cheap batteries" scenario enables much more renewables deployment, shows coal plateauing in roughly a decade, and projects India's power-related CO2 emissions start to decline just after 2030.

Go deeper: IEA to track oil companies’ efforts on clean energy

Go deeper

Global CO2 emissions were flat in 2019

Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

An IEA analysis released Monday found that energy-related CO2 emissions were flat last year at 33.3 gigatonnes.

Why it matters: Scientific analyses show that steep cuts — not just a plateau — are needed to meet the temperature goals of the Paris climate agreement.

EIA predicts renewables will become largest U.S. electricity source before 2050

Reproduced from EIA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Energy Department's data arm is more favorable on renewables' long-term future than it was a year ago, but its central analysis might still be badly underestimating the tech's trajectory.

Driving the news: The Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlook released yesterday shows power from renewables overtaking natural gas as the nation's largest electricity source in about 15 years.

Go deeperArrowJan 30, 2020

Wind and solar would struggle to replace coal-mining jobs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A global transition is underway from coal to renewable energy, but a corresponding jobs shift is far less certain.

Driving the news: Wind-industry jobs aren’t a “feasible” replacement for local coal-mining jobs in the world’s four biggest coal-producing nations, and although solar is better situated than wind, it would require a massive buildout, a new peer-reviewed report finds.