With widespread adoption of renewable energy, the energy sector has been rapidly changing over the past few decades. From the rise of rooftop solar to the imminent surge in electric vehicles, the transition to a clean energy economy is well underway. However, this transition is not without its challenges. In the face of increasing energy demand, limited resources, and fluctuating prices, traditional energy sources such as oil, coal, and natural gas will continue to play a prominent role in the energy sector for the foreseeable future.
In order to fully tackle the challenges of a changing energy landscape, and lay the groundwork for a sustainable energy future, we must develop more efficient and effective energy consumption habits. Looking ahead, one of the key elements that will help drive the transition to a more sustainable energy future is energy storage.
What is Energy Storage?
Energy storage is a process that converts and stores energy from one type to another. There are two primary types of energy storage: chemical-based and electrical. Chemical-based energy storage includes technologies such as batteries, compressed air, molten salt, and hydrogen fuel cells. Electricity is the other form of energy storage; it includes technologies such as pumped hydroelectric power, flywheels, lithium-ion batteries, vanadium redox flow batteries, and supercapacitors. These technologies can store large amounts of energy for very long periods of time. For example, lithium-ion battery technology could store a week worth of electricity in just one hour!
Energy Storage costs
One of the major hurdles that renewable energy faces is its inability to provide consistent power. During peak hours, when renewable energy production is at its lowest, traditional sources such as coal and natural gas are often called on to bridge the gap in supply. However, they are unable to meet this demand due to their own operating limitations.
This is where energy storage comes in. Energy storage solutions could help reduce the need for these traditional sources during peak-energy demand hours by providing a stable source of power that can be used whenever it’s needed most.
Another challenge with solar and wind power is their intermittent nature—these sources only produce electricity when the sun shines or when the wind blows. This inconsistency makes it difficult for utilities to plan ahead for projected energy demand and create a reliable grid system.
Energy storage offers a way around this problem by storing excess power generated from renewable sources during off-peak hours for use during peak periods of consumption. In doing so, it will enable renewable energy sources to provide a steadier stream of power without being reliant on traditional power generators like coal and gas.
In addition to increasing reliability, some studies have shown that adding an energy storage solution can result in significant cost savings in areas where these resources are scarce or expensive (e.g., remote communities). These solutions also offer an opportunity for governments to save money on infrastructure costs associated with building additional power plants and transmission lines while still meeting increasing electricity needs over time.
The future of energy consumption is bright. Energy storage, paired with renewable sources, will help us build a more sustainable future.