Renewable energy like wind and solar is abundant, but sporadic. It’s not windy or sunny all the time! Our society relies on the availability of continuous electricity, so sporadic energy is not good enough.

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Finding a cost-efficient way to store electricity for use when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow is a priority for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Cheryl Martin, Acting Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy, says progress is being made. There are numerous innovative projects that have started incorporating battery storage for renewable energy on a small scale. For example, the Miramar Marine Corp Base, in California, has partnered with Raytheon to create a microgrid — with a solar energy storage system capable of providing 72 hours of backup to the base if the larger grid fails.

MARTIN: “In the case of the folks on that base, if their grid went down, they wouldn’t know it. They would kick over to their storage system and so they would have power when others did not.”

Martin says experimental storage projects are now being tested across the U.S. Several promising technologies are poised to accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.

Reporting credits: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Solar carport at Miramar Marine Corp Base (source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory).

More Resources
U.S. Department of Energy: Batteries
Batteries for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation
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World’s biggest battery switched on in Alaska

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