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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been saying on this forum for years that batteries and solar are on an exponential decline, and that by 2025 solar + batteries will be cheaper than anything else for energy. Probably sooner.

Some people have declared that that will not be true, but none so far have provided any factual reason for their opinions.

So I'm asking: Does anyone know of any reason why this prediction will not turn out as I have said (which wasn't in any way prophetic, just plotted out the charts on excel and extended them a decade)?

I seriously want to know if you have any evidence to support the idea that batteries and solar will not continue to decline exponentially in price, and if so what that evidence is.

If not, I'm sticking to my conclusion that dire predictions based on AGW are (and always have been) nonsense because it will be over before it gets enough hotter to notice, and that the "global warming alarmists" are merely political noisemakers.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not going to happen my friend. Batteries of any kind price is a multiple of the Energy source to make that battery.
Naturally. That has factored into battery prices for over 65 years. What leads you to think the trend will suddnely change now?

Well as we have all learned and not talked about is even Lithium batteries have a negative EROI meaning it takes more energy to make the battery that it ever provide the user over its life time.
Um, are you saying that all battery manufacturers are currently operating at a loss, and always have been? It's all some kind of plot to confuse us?

Batteries are just like hydrogen gas. They are energy carries, not fuel sources. That means any energy coming form a carrier is a waste of energy robbing your children's future. and would be better utilized if you just used the fuel that was used to make the carrier.
I think you've had more to drink than I have. Yes, batteries only store energy and don't produce it. That is the purpose of a battery. The question is, how much does storing and releasing energy add to the total cost of power delivered over the course of the year. If the trends continue (which is the question of this post), battery costs will become nigh-on irrelevant.

Again hydrogen comes from natural gas and is only 60% efficient. 10 units of energy input, and 6 units out. Leaving you with 4 lost units of energy forever. You are better off and cost less to just burn the natural gas to start with.
But, if they really had to burn that much natural gas just to make the battery, how did they make any money on it? This doesn't hold water.

More good intentions with unintentional consequences. As of today and I speak professionally. Anything you take off-grid is going to cost you 5 to 10 times more than buying it from the POCO the rest of your life. Not only are you paying more than you have to, but also become a heavy polluter. It took a lot of energy to make those batteries you cannot recover.
I'm not buying this line of thinking. The cost of ANY "ingredients" already includes the cost of the energy to deliver them. All energy and ingredients used in making batteries, in turn, must have been profitable or the company providing those ingredients or energy would have gone out of business.

Only way to make Hydrogen and Batteries work is using cheap reliable round the clock using nuclear power, followed by hydro. Wind is about break even, and solar is a loss of EROI.
What figures are you quoting? Even today solar generation is approaching parity with wind generation, and both need batteries to be useful when the sun doesn't shine / wind doesn't blow.

Well it's all interesting but is pretty devoid of economics and facts, and says nothing at all about whether the 65 year trend might find some hidden snag bringing it to an inexplicable halt inches short of the finish line.

This year in the U.S., levelized costs of different sources show natural gas to be the clear leader at this point in time for non-peaker plants. Peaker plants become irrelevant with battery storage, so can be ignored for direct comparison with solar, wind, etc. On the unsubsidized page of the Lazard's Report we see onshore wind currently has an advantage over solar, but wind is declining linearly (and slowly) while solar drops in half every 3.5-5 years. The trend is what matters, not current prices. In 10 years if current trends are not suddenly interrupted, solar + batteries will be the cheapest choice.

So, returning to the original question: Do you have some fact-based reason to believe that the 65 year trends will suddenly stop in less than 10 years?

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
by definition "exponential" implies a "continual rate reduction", each year the reduction in cost is less than the previous year....such that effectively the cost will eventually reach a "floor" and drop no further.
An actual exponential decline function would never reach zero, it would simply drop by half each period (whatever that period is). In the real world, most technologies see an exponential decline until reaching either a plateau (scientists got stuck looking for the next path to successfully follow) or approaching theoretical limits (we aren't anywhere close to limits for solar or for batteries). Of course we WILL reach some limit eventually - that isn't the question. The question is whether that will mysteriously happen before solar (or some other dark horse alternative) + batteries become cheaper than any fossil fuel alternative.

What level that floor is , is the question ?....its going to be dictated by factors like cost of materials, labour, manufacturing and transport costs , etc etc.
Yes and no. If we suddenly get a breakthrough that leads to solar panels twice as efficient, then the total cost of installation just dropped by half (1/2 the number of panels to install for the same result). Flow batteries are much cheaper to "grow" than self-contained batteries. Etc.

The graphs i have seen for pv panel cost, suggest that the "floor" is nearly there at about $0.5/W.
Rubbish. Commercial panels are only around 15-18% efficient now. They must be made in batches from silicon, and are reaching the limits for this particular approach. So what? there are many other possible approaches. One is printed flexible nanoantenna arrays which can be created for far less than silicon panels. They haven't quite cracked those yet, but once they do we can have continuous production (not batch) using cheap materials with up to 80% efficiency. So that is approaching the actual limits of physics, not simply the limits of silicon.

All the low hanging fruit has been harvested !
Have you not read any of the articles I've posted in the news section? There are dozens each month. If that is your argument, you are simply misinformed - we have barely scratched the surface.

FYI... This year alone, there have been 17 new papers published in Scientific journals that prove CO2 is not, and cannot be, a GHG. !!
I don't really care much about that. I might if I thought we would still be using fossil fuels for the next 80 years, but it simply won't happen. Thus, even if AGW is "true" it is nothing more than a scientific curiosity with no bearing on the average person.

But thanks for your response! I'm happy to see no break in the pattern that no one seems able to present actual evidence that the trend is about to stop!

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
But what you are saying is that some new unproven ,( but also ultracheap) collection system, and some new undeveloped (ultracheap) battery technology..........will be cheaper than any current alternative !
Wow ! ..some smart prediction.
Not "smart" at all. Just observing patterns similar to every technological advancement path in history - some period of exponential improvement, plateaus as some obstacle(s) are reached, more advancement as a new avenue of approach is tried, etc.

The question is - does anyone have any evidence to suggest that this trend, underway for 65+ years now so far, is about to plateau or stop in less than 10 years? So far, I haven't heard any.

What about the as yet uncommercialised LSR..or Advanced SC coal plants, or come to that existing, old tech , Nuclear generators that are progressively being relicenced to extend their working life to 80 -100 years !
I'd be just dandy if any of those technologies turn out to be cheaper than traditional fuels, although astonished if any form of coal power could possibly compete economically for more than a few more years. However, bureaucratic impediments and physics suggest that none of those others have the potential to drop in price below natural gas power plants. But if they do, and do it within 10 years, then I'm still right - that alternatives will be cheaper than any fossil fuel in 10 years. I only use solar and batteries in discussion because they have a clearly established trend and also enough new advancements in the pipeline to make it unlikely the trend will stop in the next decade.

Solar (and wind) are useless as a mainstream grid source without large scale storage (thousands of GWh) and there is nothing currently available that can provide that realisticly .
Today that is correct. I am asking about the trend (which will lead to batteries so cheap that they ARE realistic) and whether you have some evidence that the trend will simply stop short of the goal line. See my other news articles about potential batteries with materials costs approaching $1/Kwh - at those prices, and adding an equal amount of labor to turn the materials into a battery, with a 20 year battery you're only talking $0.27/Mwh or $270/Gwh for the storage portion of delivered cost. That's practically free storage, and now appears completely possible in 10 years - unless our progress halts and none of the ideas in the lab result in working products.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There has been no significant advance in commercial batteries since Lithium ion technology was commercialised in the late 1980s
Costs have reduced, but basic technology is the same...40 years.
The question here is about cost, irrespective of chemistry / composition of the battery. The trend has been exponential decline. Looking to see if anyone has any actual evidence that that trend will stop soon.

Maybe there will be a new tech some time soon, but it has yet to become commercially / financialy practical so far.
24M building 3 plants in Australia, process should result in batteries at 25% of todays' cost. If that works, pattern continues irrespective of any other pending breakthroughs. Do you have some evidence that they will fail?

If you want to bet, i would wager the LSR is far more likely than any new solar or battery tech for lowest cost utility energy supply.
..and Advanced USC is certainly cheaper than NG for large scale generation.
I'd be perfectly happy with that, but I would consider that a "breakout technology." But question on the table is, is there any reason based in fact as to why battery storage won't keep dropping in price for 10-15 more years?

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I absolutely HATE this
I'm agreeing with Phantom
Costs are going down and they are still going to go down

Cummins can make (17 years ago) a 300 hp 6 litre diesel and sell it for $2000 and make a profit

Batteries will get down to close to the material cost - $20 Kwhr for Lithium Ion
Solar panels will also get close to the material cost - $50 Kw

And that is with existing technology - with some of the new stuff it will go even lower

The "floor" on the existing technology is at about 1/10th of the current cost
lol pretty soon you'll be taking the "Red Pill" Duncan! :) Well let's not get ahead of ourselves....

I agree Duncan that the limit based on physics for LiIon is around 10% of current costs - and even that assumes they crack the Li-Air challenge. I also suspect other chemistries will pan out for grid storage, such as the ones I've been posting in the news section. For purposes of cost projections I include any technology, package, or system which can store and release electricity (including pumped hydro, but that of course has the small problem of creating mountain reservoirs on demand in specified locations).

I follow multiple forums, some science based. As yet, lots of people tell me it won't happen based on opinion yet no one has been able to deliver a FACTUAL argument suggesting prices will not continue to drop.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A nice thought but, i suspect you are thinking of manufacturing cost rather than the actual market price , since You are ignoring all normal market logic.
Take conventional flashlight cells, AAs, or similar.
They have been around for ?.. 50, ..60+ years and are made in huge numbers by fully automated plants , etc their cost is minimal...
...but their market price is higher now than it was 20 yrs ago..because of market forces. !
Pick some other common man made comodity ?? House bricks ?
How have the price of those continued to fall over the past 20-50 yrs ?? hasnt,..its increased, because the market sets the price, not the value of the materials or the cost to manufacture.
Infact, earlier this year, the price of PV panels increased 10% for a while because of the huge demand from China's solar program reduced availability in the rest of the world.
Supply and demand will be the primary factors controling prices over the next few years
..and $50/kW would not even cover the shipping costs from factory to point of use !
Actually, flashlight batteries ARE a bit cheaper today than in 1970. That is because they changed the basic chemistry from lead acid to alkaline and / or lithium ion, so you get more hours of energy (although technically most people did not get their money from lead acid, which was rechargeable if you bothered to do so). Nor has the fundamental process of making batteries changed, and while there have been some small improvements there there have also been increases in the cost of labor due to a huge explosion of "employment laws" and labor taxes so the manufacturing costs have not much dropped overall.

Bricks are a fully mature ancient process. Cost is driven principally by labor and energy - again energy has gone down a little lately but labor has gone up (and they are simply too heavy to make it worth shipping overseas). On the other hand, there are newer alternatives to brick for a permanent exterior finish such as aluminum siding and Hardee planks which are in fact far cheaper than brick. Thus, although bricks themselves have not dropped, suitable alternatives for "building facing materials" have in fact become somewhat cheaper.

Too with batteries, people COULD build flashlights using A123 batteries (20,000 charging cycles). Were they to do so, the "battery cost levelized over the life of the flashlight" would be almost zero per watt hour. The reason they don't? Very few non-professionals use a flashlight for enough hours to make the savings possible. Usually flashlights get lost, broken, or otherwise destroyed - and so the cost to the individual for the "luxury" of "having a flashlight around" is not worth their time to investigate cheaper alternatives.

So, market forces are working just fine and prices actually are coming down - it's just that many are not taking advantage of the potential savings for such low-dollar items.

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No Duncan, i am not talking of buying a panel at the local Bunnings...
i am refering to the price of a truck full of product delivered to a commercial site. IE that includes the wholesale price (market determined) shipping, handling, insurance, storage , duty, tax, delivery, etc. etc ...all those costs you never see detailed, but are wrapped into that final invoice.
Materials and manufacturing costs are a small fraction of any comodity item.
Fyi, currently, many PV panel manufacturers are shutting down due to the uneconomical level of prices being dictated by Chinese producers (all the usual reasons,... cheap labour, minimal regulations, cheap power, etc),..

This article. ( as well as several others) Suggests that prices are reducung at 6-7% pa , so its going to take a while to reduce to 50% of todays value..
Karter is technically correct that prices won't fall as quickly as costs in the immediate future; however, the effect will be temporary. This is simple supply and demand. Right now demand is relatively balanced because solar and batteries have not reached parity with other sources of "energy service." Few want to build more capacity because it won't be profitable using current technology, and newer technology is just becoming available (e.g. 24M). Once prices do reach parity with traditional sources, demand will mount more swiftly than supply. For some relatively short period of time supply will outstrip the ability of industry to build out production capacity, and during that time there will be enormous profits. However, enormous profits attract enormous investments, and supply WILL catch up. As it does, profit margins will return towards those of other businesses.

This is all an absolutely normal part of the technology life-cycle.

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm making an effort not to descend to the petty. My comprehension is fine, I'll try to help yours.

Any battery has a negative EROI. If you do not know what that means, it means the battery took more energy to make, then it will supply over its life time. Example put 10 units of energy into making the battery, but over its lifetime will only give you 6 units of energy. You robed the future of 4 units of energy.
I know fully what EROI is - and in this context it is meaningless. Whether or not it truly takes more energy to create every type of battery than the lifetime energy that battery can store and release is irrelevant to the discussion of cost for energy delivery when we want it. If you want 10 units of energy delivered at night over 20 years and it costs 12 units of energy to create the battery which will deliver that energy at the time you want it, then the total energy cost for nighttime power is 10+12 = 22 total units of power. If during the day you want 10 units of power delivered over 20 years then you need a total of 32 units of power for both day and night - and there is a levelized cost in dollars for that power.

Given that scenario above, if (or rather once) solar power is 1/4 of the cost of natural gas, then the total cost of power for 20 years will be either "X" (the cost of generation of a unit of energy using gas 24/7) * 20 (units of power) using natural gas or else "X" * .25 (1/4 cost of gas to generate the same units of power) * 32 (total units of power that must be generated to deliver 20 units) for solar plus batteries. Hint: the second is cheaper.

Not that it matters to you or the customer, but what does matter or should matter is cost.
That's exactly what I've been explaining, and you are getting caught up in how much energy it uses to achieve the delivered cost. Total Energy Generated to deliver 1 unit of energy to the consumer in only one of the components of total cost, all units of power delivered do not have the same cost.

Example buy a battery, it cost $1000. After a few years it dies and needs replaced. At end of life it provided you $200 worth of electricity if bought from your local power company. You paid 500% more than you had to.
That's where you're confused. Electric cost is not just the cost of delivering power and transmitting it where you want it, but also WHEN you want it. If the generation cost plus the cost to store so as to deliver it at night (or when the wind doesn't blow) is less expensive than the ALTERNATIVE method of generating power, then it is cheaper no matter how much energy went into the final delivery.

So in the end, whatever you take off grid means you paid a lot more than necessary, and a much larger carbon footprint.
Only if you are assuming you always use coal or gas to generate the power you stored. When the use of energy storage allows the use of cheaper means of generation, the two offset each other and only a cost-benefit analysis can reveal which is cheaper.

So no the battery manufactures are not loosing money, they are making a fortune off ignorance. The user is the one getting screwed from their own ignorance.
Maybe today, or maybe there is additional Utility (the economic term, not the public provider of electricity term) to the consumer in having that energy stored. As the dollar-price of batteries continues to fall, the value of storing energy will continue to rise as it permits use of alternative energy-generation means.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
No, and the last "News" item on their website still says they will be producing cells in 2019.
Interesting. I'm reasonably certain the news article on their site originally said they had broken ground on the first of three plants. If so, it has changed, and there is conflicting information. An August article says:
"The plant, to be named ‘Renaissance One’, is expected to have seven production lines – due to become operational in late 2018" So, that may have been my misunderstanding.

But, the local Darwin news in August just mentioned that the local government were advising on aproval requirements and planning processes, so i doubt if they have started any construction yet.
Also their stated plan is to make containerised battery systems for remote supply such as Telecom relay towers etc in Australia and Asia
And the ultimate capacity of the plant would be 1GWh per year, not a huge volume for any major projects.
No mention of other sites though.
Well, even predicting it by end of year next year is phenomenal - the Tesla Gigafactory was years in the building. The 24M solution is supposed to allow far cheaper plant construction, and this seems to confirm it. If they can build one in a year and get it running, that will remove all doubt as to the technology.

If this is truely new tech, i would have expected a pilot production line somewhere with trial packs etc proven well before investing in a production plant in a foreign country
There is no doubt whatsoever it is new tech - the cathode and anode are not solid. That has never been done before with a production battery. Perhaps this IS the pilot production plant. The ability to build a Gw plant for $50 million instead of $1 billion is absolutely huge with respect to the ability to get funding.
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