The Future of Energy Storage

Running electricity systems that rely on large amounts of clean, renewable energy that are weather-dependent like wind and solar power will require operating the electricity grid in a different way. According to grantee partner Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative (MITEI), energy storage plays a key role in keeping the grid reliable as the country transitions to a cleaner and safer power grid that does not rely on coal or natural gas to generate electricity.

With support from the Heising-Simons Foundation, MITEI conducted the “Future of Energy Storage,” a three-year study which shows how energy storage can support a reliable and affordable decarbonized electricity system. The study examines four kinds of energy storage technologies: electrochemical, thermal, chemical, and mechanical and includes the following key conclusions:

  • Energy storage is a potential substitute for or complement to almost every aspect of a power system including generation, transmission, and demand flexibility.
  • Countries with developing economies are important markets to increase the deployment of energy storage.
  • The development of long-duration energy storage should be prioritized and needs federal support.
  • Providing incentives for electricity customers to use power more flexibly to take advantage of renewable resources when they are most prevalent will accelerate the transition to clean energy for the electricity sector and other sectors that will rely on clean electricity to reduce emissions (like transportation).

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has limited the way the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants during a time when limiting global warming emissions from the power sector could not be more urgent. MITEI’s report showcases the ready and available clean energy technology that can be deployed today to reduce reliance on coal and natural gas generation and increase reliance on clean resources.

You can find the press release for the MITEI report here.

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