At the Congress of Parties 21 in Paris in December 2015, Australia committed to keeping the global temperature from ever reaching 5 degrees centigrade, which meant agreeing to move over to renewable energy. Australia has done well in this regard and has committed to technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind power, hydro energy storage (PHES).
According to The Age, Australia is installing PV and wind energy sources at “20 times the annual rate worldwide”. They also confirm that South Australia will be running on 50 percent renewable energy annually very soon. The country is charging ahead to try and achieve 100 percent renewable energy, or at least run for a few days on completely renewable energy, something Portugal recently tested out for four days.
The Australian National University conducted a study that proved that only a few hours of energy storage are required to stabilize a grid with “80 to 100 percent PV and wind”. The aim is that by 2030, Australia would be able to run 80 percent of the country on renewable energy and minimize the amount of coal being used in the country.
Will they do it before Germany and the United States or even Britain? With a more advanced stance on photovoltaic cells for households, Australia has its priorities set straight. They even want to go toe to toe with Tesla. A company named Redflow – who recently announced their own photovoltaic cell -says their batteries could one day power entire towns becoming the main supply of energy and leaving the utility grid as a backup.
What is apparent is, lithium is here to stay for now. Whilst other engineers and scientists try and work on the next battery breakthrough, lithium is in charge. This according to industry experts who are reassuring the market that lithium-ion isn’t going anywhere soon and should be considered the norm…for now.
“It’s just going to be incredibly difficult for other battery technologies to catch up with it. I think that’s the lessons that a lot of new battery technologies are learning–definitely,” said Kevin Gallagher, an electrochemical engineer from the University of Chicago.
From Elon Musk’s Tesla range of cars to the smartphones we use today, to the cars we drive, it’s all about lithium. “Here you have an economically viable case to not only have solar but to include batteries to make it something you can rely upon. This is pretty revolutionary, particular when you think about this is lithium-ion batteries. It’s not exactly the same but pretty darn close to what’s in your cell phone,” Gallagher said. “Never underestimate an established technology that’s already on a learning curve. I think that’s the lesson to take away.”