A boom in energy storage projects will help wind and solar power produce about 50% of global electricity generation by 2050, according to new research by Bloomberg NEF.

The New Energy Outlook 2018 report said the development of cheaper batteries will enable more electricity to be stored and discharged when required to meet demand.

It said battery prices have already fallen by almost 80% since 2010 and will continue to drop as electric vehicle manufacturing grows in the 2020s.

Bloomberg NEF predicts that $548bn will be invested in the battery energy storage market by 2050, with two-thirds at the grid level and the remainder behind-the-meter.

BNEF head of Europe, Middle East and Africa Seb Henbest said: “The arrival of cheap battery storage will mean that it becomes increasingly possible to finesse the delivery of electricity from wind and solar, so that these technologies can help meet demand even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

“The result will be renewables eating up more and more of the existing market for coal, gas and nuclear.”

Some $11.5 trillion will be invested in new power generation capacity between 2018 and 2050, with $8.4 trillion going to wind and solar and a further $1.5 trillion to other zero-carbon technologies such as hydro and nuclear, the report said.

Solar capacity is projected to increase 17-fold by 2050, while wind power will grow sixfold.

BNEF said it expects the levelised cost of energy for solar to drop 71% by 2050 and wind by 58%.

Europe’s electricity supply is projected to be 87% clean power by 2050, with 55% of the US’, 62% of China’s and 75% of India’s power coming from renewables.