(3BL Media/Justmeans) - There’s no question that a wave of renewable power generation is sweeping this country, and just about every other country around the world. But there are a number of questions surrounding it. Will there be enough power to meet our needs? Can we afford to eliminate nuclear power? How can a transient power source take the place of steady “baseline” power that is being served today be conventional sources? At the center of all these questions lies the promise of energy storage. Storage can certainly transform the erratic contributions of wind and solar into an unflagging, continuous stream. But what kind of storage should we use? How much do we need? And perhaps most commonly, how much will it cost and how long will it take?
The storage question is certainly a dynamic one, as new analyses and new technologies become available. There are, and will likely continue to be differences of opinion about a lot of this, in part because of lot of it depends on things that are still unknown.
That being said, let’s see if make some sense of things. It’s kind of like a really messy room. We may not be able to fully clean it up right now. But if we can at least start putting things into piles, it will start to look less messy.
First question, how badly do we need storage?