News of two recent milestones are additional indicators that the transformation to a clean energy future is accelerating. One is the trend among major corporations to work toward a zero net energy (or zero greenhouse gas emissions) goal; the other is the rapid development of the energy storage industry that will make intermittent renewable energy sources of solar and wind available steadily day and night.
Kohler Company, Kohler, WI, has invested in new wind power to offset all electricity use of its 85 manufacturing plants, offices and warehouses in the US and Canada. This will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (Scope I & II) globally by 26 percent as part of their strategic approach to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. They continue to improve the efficiency of their manufacturing process, buildings and truck fleet and the energy footprint of new products. Kohler purchased part of the Diamond Vista Wind Project in Kansas that will go online by the end of 2018. They join companies like Apple, Ikea, NRG, Unilever, Salesforce, Pegasus, DOW and others working toward energy independence.
The other milestone is that the US has added the capacity to store 1 billion watts of power for one hour, which may double in 2018 alone to 1.23 gigawatt hours, according to a report by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association. The battery storage market that generated $300 million in value in 2017 is expected to exceed $1 billion in 2019. By 2030, total installed costs of battery electricity storage systems could fall 50 – 60 percent according to a study by IRENA. Battery storage is being used by homeowners for power backup in outages and for electric use at night (including charging electric vehicles), by large businesses to shave peak electricity rates, and by utilities to provide renewable power during peak hours.
State and local government policies and incentive programs such as Maryland’s storage tax credit, Massachusetts Energy Storage Initiative, California’s Self-generation Incentive Program and New York City’s storage goal are helping to support energy storage advancement.