Storage faces its own transition


Since the dawn of civilization, human progress has relied on exploiting our natural resources. Coal, oil and gas became the bedrock of our societies’ supply of energy, rapidly improving our standard of living. Too often, though, those benefits were delivered at the cost of mounting economic and environmental inequality.

By Matt Harper, Chief Commercial Officer, Invinity

The rise of renewables presents an opportunity to reshape our societies in a fairer way.

The concept of a just transition was formed with that in mind: to protect biodiversity and combat climate change by shifting towards sustainable production models which will prioritise the needs of the communities that will bear the brunt of climate change.

As the renewable energy industry embarks on this revolutionary mission, we must learn the lessons of the past.

Most importantly, we must look at the emerging energy landscape from all angles, to ensure that its benefits are shared broadly without creating new and unexpected challenges as we disrupt existing industries and build new ones.

It is essential that we dramatically scale up clean energy sources such as wind and solar to reach climate goals and limit global warming to below 2°C. But relying on intermittent renewable energy risks a future electricity system that depends on more polluting, more expensive fuel-based generation to provide power when the sky is dark and the air is still.

Energy storage systems are thus a key component of a truly renewable-powered future, delivering clean power to our homes and business as needed with no incremental emissions.

The amount of energy storage serving the grid is set to grow by a third every year to 2030 as countries increasingly look to generate ‘dispatchable’ renewable energy to help meet ambitious carbon reduction targets.

However, current approaches to energy storage have created a playing field tailored for lithium-ion batteries, originally developed for use in consumer electronics. Many grid systems around the world are now using lithium batteries to solve short-term power quality and supply challenges.

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