Renewable Energy Could Get a Boost from Cheaper Batteries

It’s hard to rely on the sun or wind for power when it’s dark or still outside. Recent reductions in the cost of the giant batteries used to store renewable energy for later use could herald a boom for solar and wind power, especially in Texas.

By Michael MarksFebruary 24, 2017 1:11 pm,

Sun and wind are two resources that Texas has no shortage of, so it’s no surprise that the state has long been a renewable energy giant. Yet Texas is often more of a sleeping giant. At times there isn’t enough sun or wind to produce sufficient energy to meet the needs of customers and at other times there’s too much and producers have to pay grid operators to take the excess off their hands.

The solution to these challenges has been to store excess energy using batteries, releasing it when needed. But, batteries are costly and therefore can’t be used to power an entire city or state.

That might be changing as the cost of making large batteries has begun to decrease. And lenders are eager to to get into the big battery business, says Bloomberg energy reporter Joe Ryan.

“The key is that once banks start stepping forward and saying that we have faith in these projects and we will lend money to people to develop them, then the industry can take off,” Ryan says, That’s what happened with solar and wind.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How long it will take to develop large-scale energy-storage projects
– What else batteries can do besides storing energy
– Why it has taken so long to develop battery technology

Written by Molly Smith.