The energy transition.

The global energy transition is rapidly accelerating. This transition is inevitable because of cost, rapid improvements in technology and structural change to the global economy. Subscribe to my dedicated Energy Transition Twitter List for knowledge, dialogue, startups. The following is a reference for myself as much as for anyone else.

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When all cars are EV's ...

The tipping point for EV's is almost here. If you're in the market for a new car then buying an EV of some sort is the logical choice. This suggests by 2030 a significant percentage of vehicles will be EV's and at some point after that all new sales will be EV's.

That's a LOT of energy storage driving around. How much energy? There are about 19 million cars in Australia, so if they were all EV's with an average 70kWh battery then that's ... 1,400gWh of energy storage. Just in Australia.

There are challenges in actually using Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G as it is known) as part of the grid, but people are thinking about this already.

Thinking about an EV in 2020?

If you're in the market for a new car this year, buying an old-fashioned ICE vehicle makes no sense. I'm going to keep tabs on the options ...

EV Battery Range Price
Mini EV 32.6kWh 250km TBA
Hyundai Kona 64kWh 400km $65,000
Volvo XC40 recharge 78kWh 400km TBA
Tesla Model 3 75kWh 460km $66,000

Gravity & energy storage

Imagine say a 4,000 litre water tank raised by perhaps 3 meters as a potential energy storage device for your home. How much potential energy could it store?

This potential energy calculator makes it easy to see why this isn't a good idea. Let's do the maths.

Australia exporting energy to Asia

Singapore currently generates 95% of its electricity from LNG which expsoses it to price and supply risk. Sun Cable plans to generate solar in the NT and use a high-voltage DC cable to supply up to 20% of this. If this sounds unlikely, they aren't the only ones. The Asian Renewable Energy Hub will generate up to 15,000 MW of wind & solar energy in WA, supplying heavy industrial users and exporting the rest to Indonesia.

Implications of a battery boom

If you start with the hypothosis that there will be a rapid global transition to EV's over the next decade, demand for li-ion batteries could increase by 6,700% by 2030, which the Chinese have already anticipated as they are building vast battery factories all over the country. Demand for Lithium, Nickle and Cobalt, are essential for this to occur and Australia could (should) be really well positioned to benefit through its expertise in both mining and the global supply chain.

Understanding China's EV market

Fascinating video on how the Chinese government has facilitated the rapid transition to EV's through smart policy (2019). Also a video Tesla's Quest for better batteries by Real Engineering

Peak energy and the rise of renewables

"For every single country and region, the cheapest source of new power-generation capacity is a renewable source. It’s either solar or wind, depending on the market. By 2030 it'll be cheaper to build new renewable generation capacity than it is to use the existing coal- or gas-based generation capacity. That’s an obvious turning point."

2019 Quote from those known left wing fanatics at McKinsey & Company.

Rooftop solar for your home

Getting solar PV for your home is a disgracefully unpleasant experience but since it's a guaranteed way to save you money the good solar guide is a good place to start.

If anyone tries to sell you a battery to go with it, do the maths first. If you're really intent on adding a battery, a smaller battery may be better or download the Solar Battery Guide (PDF) by Reposit Power.

Energy Roadmaps

Australia has a wealth of energy expertise in Government, Universities and business and know what needs to be done.

  • AEMO, the energy market regulator, is a pretty good place to start. They update their Integrated System Plan annually and have a fascinating map of Australia's Energy Network
  • Beyond Zero is an independent organisation that makes a compelling argument that as Australia’s fossil energy exports decline as the world decarbonises, Australia has the opportunity to be an Energy Superpower because we naturally possess one of the best renewable energy resources in the world.
  • The Australian Energy Resources Assessment by Geoscience Australia is a useful source of data on the types of energy available to Australia.

  • Exponential Roadmap 36 solutions to cut greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030

The world has to decarbonise and fast. It is worth asking if it's actually possible to transition to 100% renewable energy, but that might be the wrong goal, as this excellent presentation by Jesse Jenkins PhD demonstrates.