Innovation hits closer to home
Although wind energy shows promise, cleaning up tomorrow’s electricity generation is only half of the puzzle. The other half is building the infrastructure that allows us to rely on this energy.
The rap on wind farms is intermittence – power isn’t generated when the wind isn’t blowing, making them unreliable as the source for power grids. But if vast amounts of renewable energy – let’s say, enough to power an entire city – could be captured, stored in batteries, and utilized when needed, that drawback would disappear.
This has been the “missing piece” in the renewable energy puzzle for years, but thanks to recent innovations in battery technology, it’s finally coming into view.
Already, advances in battery packaging, such as cooling plates and flame-retardant cell covers, have allowed lithium-ion batteries to be safely used as home energy-storage units, and now, these batteries are being massively scaled up.
Across the globe, grid-scale battery-storage facilities are being rapidly installed. In China, for example, more battery storage has been added in 2018 than all other years combined. The country also plans to continue to expand this storage throughout the next decade.
The U.S., India, and many countries across Europe are also installing utility-scale battery systems for a wider adoption of renewable energy. And with more installations of large-scale battery storage facilities, many experts believe we will be able to power our future cities with 100% renewable electricity by as early as 2040.