The most promising development in clean energy innovation lies in energy storage, as battery, hydro, and thermal systems are able to fill in production gaps in solar and wind energy. According to a report from Clean Technia, we don’t need to wait on some huge, groundbreaking technological fix to speed up our movement away from fossil fuels, as energy storage is quickly becoming more efficient and cost-effective.
Batteries are the newest and fastest-growing system in this energy storage development. The falling costs of solar energy and battery storage make the two energy sources so productive that they are competing heavily with natural gas peaker plants and are projected to shut down up to 10 GW of peaker plants by 2027, though some experts say this could happen as early as 2020.
Some studies claim that a plant combining solar energy with battery storage is already cheaper than a gas peaker plant. Tesla’s battery storage operation in Australia was constructed more quickly than originally thought possible and is having a major influence on battery storage pricing. Right now, it’s the biggest battery storage plant in the world, but is projected to soon be the average size as battery systems become more popular and cost-effective.
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Battery storage is energy’s newest, most exciting innovation, but other storage systems can be just as effective. Hydro storage, for instance, provides Australia with more than enough energy storage, with 22,000 sites throughout the country. The battery systems are still developing and thus have productivity gaps, so hydro storage is another stable way to keep energy production clean and renewable
But the storage of energy does not function alone, as its main purpose is to fill the gaps in productivity for clean energy sources. Battery and hydro storage paired with solar and wind farms are quickly becoming Australia’s go-to energy solution on the path to eliminating fossil fuels and one day relying 100% on renewable energy.
The forecast for these new energy solutions is not quite as optimistic in the US as in Australia, but the States could soon see significant transitions from natural gas to clean storage, with one study supporting a goal of 80% renewable energy. There are about 50 upcoming projects that could altogether provide 40 GW of new, clean storage.