A renewable-powered future will need energy storage

● By Dr. Jonathan Radcliffe, University of Birmingham ● The way we generate, transfer and use energy is changing, and our energy systems and infrastructure have come under increasing pressure to cope. Black-outs strike where we would expect reliable supplies, energy costs are rising, pushed up by fossil fuel prices and the expense of renewing ageing electricity infrastructure. As the proportion of energy generated from renewables like wind, wave and solar power rises, part of the solution to such intermittently generated energy is technology that can store the energy until it is needed. Professor Richard Williams has explained why energy storage is needed, and how this was now being recognised by policymakers. Practically, the concept of “energy storage” varies considerably in how much energy can be stored for how long, and can be achieved through chemical, mechanical, thermal or electromagnetic methods. The applications for energy storage have become apparent as nations' energy systems undergo radical transitions. The reasons behind these changes are diverse: climate change mitigation policies have led to widespread use of renewables, in Europe especially. In rapidly expanding economies such as China, the priority is to meet rising demand. In many developing countries, improving and expanding electrification is the goal. In the US, improving the resilience of the electricity grid to extreme weather events has become paramount, to prevent another hurricane Sandy knocking out much of New York City’s power grid, for example. All these examples require substantial change to energy systems, whether that’s the electricity grid, how energy is generated, or other elements. In each case, energy storage is an attractive technology that can reduce costs and improve efficiency. The most developed form of energy storage is at the shortest timescales, such as for maintaining the quality of electricity supply within strict frequency standards ...Zum vollständigen Artikel


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