Investment banker Morgan Stanley is bullish on the market for electric grid storage products. “Demand for energy storage from the electric utility sector will grow more than the market anticipates by 2019–2020,” the company predicts in a recent report. Demand for grid-scale storage will increase from less than $300 million a year today to as much as $4 billion in the next 2–3 years. There will soon be demand for up to 85 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of storage — worth about $30 billion a year. 85 GWh would be enough to supply most of New York City for a year. Morgan Stanley claims the low price of wind and solar power coupled with the falling price of energy storage products has created a situation in which renewable energy is now reliable enough to be considered a mainstay of the utility industry and not just a specialty player. More grid-scale storage will also promote a more distributed grid architecture, one that employs a “plug and play” model that better suits the needs of utility companies, rooftop solar customers, and electric vehicle owners.

Energy storage effectively provides a low-cost source of power, eliminating the need for the highest cost, least efficient conventional power plant…We think utilities could deploy storage as a way to enable the growth of renewables and/or defer costly transmission and distribution projects.”

Electric car owners in Denmark are earning as much as 1,300 euros ($1,530) a year just by parking their vehicle and feeding excess power back into the grid. Trials in Denmark carried out by Nissan Motor Co. and Italy’s biggest utility Enel SpA showed how batteries inside electric cars could help balance electricity demand and supply at times and provide a new revenue stream for those who own EVs. Nissan currently has trials with more than 100 EVs across Europe. Many auto industry observers say electric car demand globally is expected to soar, putting further pressure on electric grid operators to find new ways of balancing demand. Power consumption from EVs is expected to grow to 1,800 terrawatt-hours (TWh) in 2040 from just 6 TWh now, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said for the first time this week that Germany will eventually have to ban new diesel cars, following the lead of other European countries. At the same time a leading environmental group in the country said recent steps proposed by the nation’s automakers to cut diesel pollution remained inadequate. The Deutsche Umwelthilfe, a lobby group which has advocated banning diesel cars from roads, said it would pursue court enforced diesel bans in 16 German cities.

ACT Research reports its free Truck Fuel Calculator now covers operating cost comparisons between diesel, natural gas, hydrogen fuel cell and electric. The enhanced fuels calculator helps fleets measure power selection and vehicle cost, fuel and performance, and maintenance over a set time period or trade cycle.

Bus operator First West of England is testing its new double-decker bus powered by biomethane in Bristol, England. The bus has 70 seats, a wheelchair space, and standing room for 13 people. The biomethane is made from food scraps and other household food waste,

Engineering tells us about The Race to Level 5 Autonomous Vehicles. See also The EngineerHow AI is paving the way for fully autonomous cars.

Forbes tells us about 10 Features Consumers Will Want To Watch Out For In Driverless Cars.

Chinese automaker Baidu says it plans to mass produce fully autonomous cars that can navigate cities by 2020. The Apollo expects to be running on uncomplicated roads by this Decemberand to have an artificial intelligence (AI) that can handle cities by December 2020.

Market analysts Frost & Sullivan predict global solar investment will be higher than coal, natural gas and nuclear combined this year. The analysts find that declining project costs are driving investment towards renewables as the electric generation industry continues to transition to more decentralised and intelligent energy systems. China will be the largest market in terms of solar revenue investment, but the fastest growth will come from India, which will see double-digit growth in investment to 2020.  Three-quarters of power generation investment in Europe will be for wind, solar and biomass technologies, while Russia will buck the trend and focus on nuclear power and hydro.

China’s energy demand will peak by 2040, later than the previous forecast of 2035, as transportation fuel consumption continues to rise through the middle of this century. China is the world’s second-largest economy and the world’s second-largest oil consumer. Gasoline demand will peak as soon as 2025 as the Asian country takes action to use cleaner fuels as part of a wider campaign to fight air pollution. China National Petroleum Corp. predicts renewable fuels and natural gas will replace coal as the largest fuel source for electric power generation by 2030 and account for more than half of the nation’s electricity generation by 2045.

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