According to experts speaking at the U.S. Energy Information Administration energy conference in Washington this week, big batteries are fast becoming a key part of achieving a renewable US power grid.
Batteries – which store electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar panels – help reduce greenhouse gas emissions as stored power can flow into homes and onto the power grid when it isn’t being generated real-time. This way, power can be stored and used when needed.
California is one of the US’ leaders in mainland energy storage. Major utilities there are required to install 1,325 megawatts of energy storage – enough for about 1 million homes – by 2024, says a recent report.
Telsea, one of the fastest-growing electric car companies in the US, is getting into the energy storage business for homes and utilities, with plans to build a $5 billion factory in Nevada where the company says it will produce enough battery capacity annually to store 50 gigawatt hours of electricity by 2020 – a number big enough for 500,000 electric cars powered using renewable energy. “We can find ways to reinvent what was a slow-moving battery production industry designed for a totally different set of products,” said Telsea. “We feel strongly that electricity is going to replace petroleum.”