Graphs of the Day: Wind fast, solar faster, batteries fastest | RenewEconomy

Graphs of the Day: Wind fast, solar faster, batteries fastest

Four charts show that in the global race to build new energy capacity, wind is fast, solar is faster, and batteries will be faster again. Meanwhile, coal power…


With energy policy looking set to move backwards in Australia, these four charts put together and Tweeted over the weekend by clean energy industry veteran and occasional RE contributor, Ray Wills, illustrate just how quickly the transformation of the global energy market is moving in the opposite direction.

In the race to build new energy#wind fast#solar faster
& #batteries will be faster again#Coal has started a fast

— Prof Ray Wills (@ProfRayWills) October 22, 2017

Readers will note that coal doesn’t feature in the first chart, on global capacity growth, at all. It does, however, feature in the following three, where the data tells a separate story.

Graph two, which charts how long it takes to deliver a range of different types of power plant, is particularly interesting in the Australian context, considering current projections about the future energy mix under the proposed National Energy Guarantee.








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  1. Andy Saunders 3 years ago

    What’s the Y axis units on the second chart?

    • RobertO 3 years ago

      Hi Andy Saunders, Looks to me like years. Batteries are about 8 to 10 months and Nuclear about 8 to 15. Remember it from application date and all the normal delays that occure, there is one Coal Power Station in Kanas USA that was granted Planning permission in 2001 (or was it 1997? I have forgotten the date) but as of September 2017 it was still in the Enviromental Courts trying to get through, so thing can go wrong with any plan.

  2. Mike Westerman 3 years ago

    It’s a pity off stream pumped hydro was not included. His predictions about batteries are very brave: unlike solar or wind or pumped hydro where there are no resource constraints, or tech breakthroughs needed, batteries face challenges in new resources, waste disposal.recycling and tech development of non-polluting, non-constrained alternatives.

    • My_Oath 3 years ago

      Battery recycling plants are being built right now – including one by an Australian company that is at the head of the pack. Also batteries provide portability for the options you list. They add to renewables, they aren’t in competition with them.

      • Mike Westerman 3 years ago

        Yes great to see – they must be in place before a problem is created, not afterwards, preferably with deposit scheme upfront. All EV or household battery packs should be exchangeable by law with vehicle maker.

        • Mike Shackleton 3 years ago

          I know that Toyota already run a battery exchange program for their hybrid vehicles. And Tesla propose to use their old automotive batteries in stationary applications and have developed their batteries to be 99.9% recyclable. There isn’t much point establishing the recycling infrastructure yet, that’s something we’ll need to worry about closer to 2030 – any investment now would likely be in the wrong place or to the wrong scale.

          • My_Oath 3 years ago

            “There isn’t much point establishing the recycling infrastructure yet,”

            Actually there is. The cell manufacture process (according to sources I have seen) involves as much as 10-15% rejects. There is a compelling case to build a recycling plant next to every gigafactory being built right now – that’s why there is a rush on to get them developed.

            End-of-life recycling capacity will be rolled out when needed, but that is just an addition at the time.

        • My_Oath 3 years ago

          I don’t think it will need to be legislated. One thing we humans do very well is recycle metals. 99%+ of all gold ever produced is still in use. 75%+ of all aluminium ever produced is still in use.

          Further, the Australian company involved has demonstrated in their lab-scale plant, and engineering analysis of the plant currently under construction, that product costs are less than the cost of new supply. This alleviates somewhat the supply issue you mention, and makes recycling a very compelling case – as it is with aluminium.

          60 Minutes has a piece on them this coming weekend.

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