High-capacity and high-efficiency energy storage solutions can multiply the reliability of renewable energy.

FREMONT, CA: As the world gears up for the big energy transformation, energy sector companies are reassessing infrastructural capabilities. Renewable sources of energy like solar and wind, are finding many takers but have limited reliability. Adding energy storage capabilities to renewable energy plants is the best way for energy sector companies to overcome the issues of reliability. When a sufficient amount of solar and wind energy can be stored, the fluctuations due to sunlight or wind availability will become non-existent. As a result, the renewable energy sector will get an impetus that will further accelerate the commercial adoption of renewable energy.

Pumped-storage hydropower has been the preferred means of large-scale energy storage for some time now. According to the US Department of Energy, almost 95 percent of utility-scale energy storage in the country is pumped storage hydropower. However, the fall in the prices of lithium-ion batteries is changing the storyline now. An article published by Scientific American mentions a collection of statistics from various sources which point at the rise of lithium-ion batteries for utility-scale energy storage. The same article also mentions Wood Mackenzie's forecast about the energy storage market getting doubled and tripled between 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, respectively.

Although lithium-ion batteries are going to be dominant, other energy-storage solutions are also emerging. Alternatives to lithium-ion batteries include flow batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, among many others. Together, these technologies can be leveraged to enable storage of energy that can be used for four to eight hours. This amount of stored energy will enable solar-generated power to be supplied during peak demand hours in the evening. Thus, utility-scale energy storage can empower renewable energy producers significantly. 

Cost-competitive energy storage systems are vital for the continued development and adoption of renewable energy. By empowering renewable producers to supply solar and wind power even when generation is halted, large-scale energy storage gives renewable energy the edge that they lack.

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