Why everyone is talking about energy storage

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Ever since governments started getting serious about developing renewable energy, naysayers have been arguing that it’s a pipe dream — after all, the sun doesn’t always shine or the wind doesn’t always blow. The questions raised always lead back to energy storage.

We’ve seen ideas about how to store renewable energy when it’s abundant and cheap and use it again when demand is higher — from wind turbines that incorporate battery storage to vehicle-to-grid technology that uses electric cars’ batteries as temporary storage to supplement the grid. But those concepts are just the beginning.

In fact, a recent report suggests that revenue from the distributed energy storage market — meaning battery packs and other storage devices located directly at homes and businesses (many of which now generate electricity through solar) — could exceed $16.5 billion by 2024. Another report predicts $68 billion in revenue in the same time frame from the grid-scale storage market. This includes large-scale battery packs, hydro-storage systems that use cheap abundant electricity to pump water uphill to drive turbines later on, or even solar thermal systems that store energy as heat in molten salt.

This is a quickly changing landscape…

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