In a fast-developing industry teeming with technologies that promise to be the next big thing, energy storage appears to be the biggest.
Its supporters not only sing its praises but also tout what they say is its inevitability.
“We’re going to have 10 times as much energy storage on the grid by the end of this decade and that is going to impact every facet of the energy industry,” said Matt Roberts, executive director of the Energy Storage Association, an industry trade group.
But the electrical grid is a harsh taskmaster.
What is it?
Energy storage technology takes on a lot of different forms.
The most prominent is pumped hydro, in which water is pumped uphill behind dams and then released, with the ensuing rush of water generating power.
Pumped hydro is the biggest source of energy storage in the U.S., accounting for 96 percent of the industry’s total storage capacity.
But chemical storage — as in batteries — may be the source people are most familiar with, especially given the media attention that inevitably accompanies any announcement by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.
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