How Long Will It Take For Batteries To End The Oil Age?

Tesla Powerpacks and the grid

APR 1 2018 BY EVANNEX 30


With renewable energy generation on the rise, the end of the Oil Age is, if not imminent, at least imaginable. However, the most exciting technology these days is arguably not solar or wind power, but the battery storage that makes these and other forms of renewable energy more practical, and also enables electric vehicles. Unlike high-performance electric supercars, the burgeoning battery business seldom makes headlines, but all kinds of exciting news is out there for those who take an interest.


*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Tesla Powerpacks (Image: Tesla)

Bloomberg reports that the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently ruled that energy storage companies such as Tesla can compete with traditional power plants in wholesale energy markets by the end of 2020. While the average consumer may not see the significance, Joel Eisen, an energy law professor at the University of Richmond, called it “a watershed event,” and compared it to the deregulation of the telecommunications market in the 1970s, which enabled the internet by giving computers access to phone lines.


The Brattle Group estimates that the energy commission’s ruling could unleash as much as 50 gigawatts of battery-stored power into US markets, enough to power 6 million homes.

The burgeoning battery business is not going unnoticed by incumbents in the energy industries. At the recent CERAWeek conference in Houston, an annual gathering of players in the oil and gas fields, executives met to talk batteries in a couple of packed sessions. “The question is no longer if batteries will disrupt the power sector,” conference organizer IHS wrote, “but rather how much and how fast?”

Above: The growth of stationary battery storage is projected to grow worldwide (Source: Bloomberg)

Oil companies and electric utilities are bracing for a one-two punch from battery-powered cars and a battery-enabled smart grid. BP sees oil demand peaking in the 2030s as EVs hit the road in droves. The CEO of oil giant Total said at CERAWeek that he’s already driving an electric car.

On the electrical grid, natural gas is steadily displacing coal as the fossil fuel of choice, but gas, which currently generates about a third of US electricity, is now itself being challenged as batteries barge into power markets. In California and Arizona, utilities including PG&E and Pinnacle West are abandoning gas plants in favor of renewable energy projects, thanks to battery systems that allow them to store their power and release it as needed. “Batteries are like bacon,” said Southern California Edison executive Vibhu Kaushik. “They just make everything better.”

One of the most visible producers of that yummy bacon is Tesla – its 100-megawatt battery farm in South Australia is only the most famous of the many projects it has in place or planned. A pilot project in Nova Scotia will use Tesla’s utility-grade Powerpack batteries in conjunction with local wind turbines to provide backup power for 300 homes, Marketwatch reports. Electrek tells us that Tesla is bidding on a giant battery system in Colorado for Xcel Energy, which would take the title for the world’s largest (in terms of energy capacity) away from Tesla’s Australian installation.

Above: A look at Tesla’s massive battery installation in South Australia (Youtube: Tesla)

Tesla’s energy storage and generation revenue increased from $181 million in 2016 to $1.1 billion in 2017, but the company says the party is just getting started. According to Tesla’s fourth-quarter shareholder letter, 2018 will see a huge increase in its energy storage business (as reported by the Motley Fool).

“2018 will see major growth in Tesla energy storage deployments, as the production ramp of our storage products is just as steep as with Model 3,” said Tesla. “This year, we aim to deploy at least three times the storage capacity we deployed in 2017.” Tesla deployed 358 megawatt-hours of energy storage products in 2017 and hopes to deliver 1,074 megawatt-hours in 2018.

Unsurprisingly, the high-visibility South Australia project has generated a lot of interest from large customers. “Due to the success of this project, we’re seeing an increase in demand for Powerpack, our commercial energy storage product,” says Tesla. “With more electric utilities and governments around the world recognizing the reliability, environmental, and economic benefits of this product, it’s clear that there is a huge opportunity for us in large-scale energy storage.

Above: Tesla CEO Elon Musk on-site at the biggest battery in the world in South Australia (Instagram: elonmusk)

But the Fool notes that investors shouldn’t overlook Tesla’s plans for residential energy storage. Demand for Tesla’s residential energy storage solution, Powerwall, also “remains exceptionally high, with orders consistently above production levels,” the company says. As Tesla continues to roll out its energy products at more of its retail stores, the battery boom should only continue.


Written by: Charles Morris

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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30 Comments on "How Long Will It Take For Batteries To End The Oil Age?"

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It could happen in ten years, but will probably be more like twenty, or even thirty, years. I hope it ends up being ten.

Gee whatever happened to the renewable energy trolls who even 5 years ago were denouncing wind and solar as a fraud sucking up out tax dollars with “unfair” subsidies.

I hope that in the not too distant future they’ll be joined by the EV trolls who like to crap all over this site.

There will be a substantial difference in global oil consumption between 2020 and 2030.

A decrease of 50% is most certainly not unthinkable.

Yes it is unthinkable. Most predictions don’t have peak oil demand for 20 years. Even the most optimistic ones don’t put peak oil demand earlier than a decade.

The number of vehicles on the roads are growing fast and replacing the fleet will take a couple of decades.

If we can stop the increase in oil use by 2030 it will be a big win.

Most significant change will be in the second half of the next decade.

Production of batteries will be growing extremely fast year after year, but production will still not be able to satisfy demand.

A scenario that is unthinkable now will unfold (a few years) after 2025.

No, it will not. Even the most optimistic scenario possible doesn’t have that kind of trajectory.

Don’t confuse optimism with ignorance.

Trying to be realistic is based on experience from the past. Nothing wrong with that.

Predictions are always difficult to make.

Even if it’s a decrease of 20% in 2030 (compared to 2020), that surely is the direction it will be heading to.

When the force increases substantially, all barriers break.

The middle portion of the S-curve is very steep.

The nice thing about predictions from ‘experts’ is that they rarely have it even close.

In 2-3 years, ICE vehicles will fall to about 1/2 or less of new vehicles in America. The reason is that Commercial vehicles, with the exception of plumbers or possibly carpenters, who simply carry tools to a job site and then stay there ALL DAY, will all flip to EVs. They are far too cheap NOT TO.
Then in less than 3 years, more than enough EVs will have hit the market that NOBODY will want an ICE vehicle, except to buy used 1-2 y.o. Mercedes S class and other luxury vehicles, for say 10K or less (and yes, they WILL be dirt cheap).
By 2030, the bulk of the west, and likely China, will no longer import oil. By the west, I mean America, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Japan and S. Korea will likely still import some, but it will be a fraction and it will be CHEAP.

This is coming in a BIG WAY.

I hope you are not betting any money on that. If the experts are rarely close then your prediction is about to hit Pluto instead of Tellus.

Half of the sales in America…*lol*…

Nice April foold day joke😂😂

Am major impact occurs simply by ending growth. That is the point where oil investors jump ship.

Ending the burning of fossil fuels is critical, but if major countries commit to eliminating disposable plastics, oil will take a greater hit sooner.

You got it. It takes a Government to move companies in the direction that is best for the people; where it goes wrong is when the companies own the Government such as you have now with fossil fuel controlling Trump and the Republican Congress.

The oil companies are minor players when it comes to campaign contributions. And of the top 10 contributors, only 2 are majority GOP. There are plenty of oxes to gore on both sides of the aisle.

We are talking of a few hundreds of Peta!-Watthours a year, that the world consumes. Kilo, Mega, Giga, Tera, Peta… Long journey and little resources, we are at mega now… Batteries will not be a relevant long term energy storage solution for decades, maybe forever. It might work for some homes, but not for every house, and not for big industries, like aluminum or steel production plants. Batteries are short term storages to stabilize the grid, long term storage might be hydrogen or methane, something we do not know yet, or we might not need storages anymore when we manage power by fusion succesfully.

Fusion is not necessary. If we can get over our irrational fear of nuclear power, LFTRs will provide cheap, safe, pollution free power with almost no radioactive waste to dispose of. Powered by cheap plentiful Thorium, easy to refine and rare earth mining companies will give it away for free. See

Sounds like that Lying Atomic Energy Commissioner STRAUSS stating “Power will be too cheap to meter”, when Nuclear Energy is amoungst the MOST EXPENSIVE electricity – especially when the individual LLC’s that own the power plant (to hide the main corporation from the responsibility) declare bankruptcy rather than pay for the 50 year decommissioning of the old Nuke Plant site. Thorium plants were intially tried in the early 60’s but by the 70’s and 80’s those things were all shut down as unworkable or unprofitable. So now they are going to be free? Haha! where have I heard that before….. People are naive in the extreme if they think there have been few Nuke Power injuries. The industry is like the Pharmaceutical industry – with an army of lawyers to enforce the commonly held Polemic. Over 600,000 liquidators have already died due to the radiation received at the Chernobyl cleanup. I know – that’s the old Soviet Union – OUR STUFF like GE Mark 1’s could NEVER EVER have any problem. Except for the 11th of March, 2011, when 3 GE’s Melted down, Melted through, and the Unit #3 Fukushima Daichi exploded with a prompt criticality. Of course, No one… Read more »

Thank god that most ppl are not as irrational as you are.

Nuclear power is insane. Nuclear is just is not worth it.

Wind, solar, and batteries are viable solutions. It is just a matter of building enough.

Of course not. Nuclear power is as rational and logical as it gets.

Wind and solar will play a part, but not a large enough part fast enough to do it alone. We need all the nuclear, hydro, biomass/biofuels, geothermal etc. that we can get.

Haha Irrational? When you can’t argue a point intelligently you just name call. But that is RATIONALLY the only thing you can do.

Find out how many people in a nearby town to me ‘support’ Nuclear power near Nine Mile Point 1 and 2. Our current governor ‘liberal’ Andrew Cuomo campaigned hard to get the 2 units to close, which is finally on schedule. Of course, in the states, those who favor abandonment of Nukes are for the first time in the majority, per this Gallup Poll:

Not for me to say since I’m not a European, but those guys ain’t in favor of it as much as they used to be either, what with France decreasing their generation over the years, and several countries, including Germany- a BIG country last I checked, elminating it entirely.

Now, Personally I AM in favor of SAFE, Prudent Nuclear Power – countries pursuing that include India, China, and Russia.
Russia incidentally has the most advanced Nuclear Technology anywhere world wide as they have the only working commercial Breeder Reactors, and of course, are gaining valuable experience all the time.

‘Thorium plants were intially tried in the early 60’s but by the 70’s and 80’s those things were all shut down as unworkable or unprofitable.”

Got a link for that Bill? NO? How surprising!
You are one thick ‘see you next Tuesday”

Get an intelligent commenter to make the request without making silly insults. The key there is to first prove that you are not a Dim Bulb yourself. Then I’ll provide the links. I provided one link already… Hope that doesn’t overload anyone’s brain here.

From article: “How Long Will It Take For Batteries To End The Oil Age?”

Hundreds of years from now if ever.

Home and grid battery energy storage systems along with alternative energy generation systems such as solar will greatly impact how commercial utilities generate and distribute energy… and continued adoption of EVs will change how cars are powered… but all of that combined won’t “end the oil age”. Oil will be in high demand and high supply for hundreds of years to come. But hopefully we are soon headed to a better place in terms of Energy Security and also a large reduction in oil needed to be burnt to power automotive and other forms of transportation.

Things always take longer than proponents think they will. As far as wishing Big Oil out of existence – I think that is just ‘slightly’ premature – as Ben earlier commented. Ev usage by the average joe has increased considerably – but that is not to ignore that 98-99% of everyone else drive only ICE’s. Maybe it would be time for self-congratulation when the percentage of people driving EV’s was at 30-40%, and the end of the “ICE ERA” was in sight. As it is, with China and India in the mix, as well as the popularity of very large Stationary high-efficiency ICE machines being used for central stations and other non-electric power requirements, it is again premature to declare the “DEATH OF ICE” when the NUMBER of ICE’s manufactured world wide continues to break new records every year. I have no problem with Newer ICE’s becoming more reliable and efficient, but it does also mean that EV’s must have constant improvement in both reliability and value to keep gaining market share. Since the “SHALE REVOLUTION” is fizzling out in the States, (many developments are actually being run at a loss), and the companies go bankrupt, prices for oil industry… Read more »

As a reference. The people at RethinkX predict that in 2025 all cars/trucks/buses will be electric. Once things get rolling it will happen at an unbelievable rate,

I suspect that this article is partially April Fools related.
Land batteries will do nothing to end the oil or fossil fuel age. In fact, utilities will use batteries to back up their fossil fuel plants.
Take the example of Xcel and buying the world’s largest battery. Based on where it is going, it has NOTHING to do with Xcel customers like myself. It is for the military, and is almost certainly providing emergency backup for multiple bases there. It has nothing to do with wind/solar.
NONE of the utility level batteries will be about wind/solar. It will be about regulating demand so that utilities can move off expensive on-demand type systems.
EVs will help end oil age, but not the fossil fuel. In fact, in China, they STILL are above 80% coal based (look at OCO2 data), and as they switch to EVs, the electricity will have to come from coal, since AE is already maxed out.

And Tesla haters say Tesla is going bankrupt?

Saudi Arabia has a plan to build 200 GW of solar power by 2030 at a cost of $200 billion. How much of battery storage do they need??

Base on this report, the world only has 1.4 GW of battery storage now.

None? The majority of electricity will come from stable base power nuclear and with solar to provide that increase during the day to make air-cons run at max.

That will follow the demand pretty well, and excess power will be used to make fresh water.

„batteries are like bacon“

Hopefully not…we don’t want that cruel industry be compared to the battery business. There are a lot of challenges to overcome to make the exploitation of materials for batteries more sustainable and human friendly. We shouldn’t compare it to an industry that supports the murdering of animals just because of taste. Battery production should also be more sustainable than meat production because meat is widely responsible for rainforest deforestation and therefore a major climate change driver. We don’t want that for batteries to be true. And don’t be offended. It’s just my point of view.