Energy Technology Magazine sounded a warning on December 11, 2018 about home battery policies. It is not against the idea in principle. However, it thinks home storage could “inadvertently increase carbon emissions under current policies.” Their position therefore challenges assumptions that these storage systems could replace greenhouse gas-emitting turbines.
University of California, San Diego Slams Home Battery Policies
The researchers say home battery owners draw energy from the grid when it is cheapest to save on their bills. Until home battery policies change, this almost invariably means the energy comes from cheap, base-load coal power stations.
Furthermore, the batteries do not operate at 100% efficiency. In other words, they cost more energy than they release. This in turn means the householders are drawing even more dirty power from coal. The best solution, the researchers say “would be to make clean energy cheaper for consumers”. In other words “supply it when the grid is generating low-carbon electricity”.
How on Earth Could This Work?
The University of California, San Diego was thinking laterally when it said utilities “would need to make energy cheaper for consumers when the grid is generating low-carbon electricity.” Or else “greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power system would go down and at what economic cost?”
Moreover, electricity from home battery storage is more expensive than from solar and wind. Until home battery policies change, most homeowners will logically continue to choose the cheapest system regardless of the carbon cost.
We could have gotten ourselves into a dead end as a society regarding this. We agree with the researchers “There is an enormous upside to these systems in terms of flexibility and saving households money. While the increase in home batteries deployment is underway,” they say.
“We therefore need to work on multiple fronts to ensure that their adoption is carbon minded.”
Preview Image: Zwałowisko Coal Power Station Mine