Recharging the Clean Energy Transition with Battery Storage

A Changing Climate Means A Changing Society. The Island Press Urban Resilience Project, Supported By The Kresge Foundation And The JPB Foundation, Is Committed To A Greener, Fairer Future.​ This Article Was Originally Published April 18, 2018 on The Avenue

It’s rare to have an opportunity to shape an energy technology market as it emerges.

Today, battery storage is that energy technology.

The world’s leading technology consultant McKinsey now says battery storage is the “next disruptive technology in the power sector.” According to its 2017 report, “low-cost storage could transform the power landscape.”

“At today’s lower prices, storage is starting to play a broader role in energy markets, moving from niche uses such as grid balancing to broader ones such as replacing conventional power generators for reliability, providing power-quality services, and supporting renewables integration.”

U.S. battery installations were up 27 percent in 2017, and that growth is expected to more than double in 2018.

Whether the title is deserved or not, battery storage has been called the “holy grail” of clean energy as it could solve the variable production problem faced by many renewable energy technologies, the same power shifting challenge Thomas Edison tried to solve when he invented the battery over a hundred years ago.

The technology might well transform all sectors of the economy, with the potential to enable the eventual decarbonization of our energy system.

But there are still numerous barriers inhibiting greater storage adoption, as was the case for the solar industry about 20 years ago. For storage, these barriers include an absence of coordinated state and federal policies and programs to reduce costs and encourage market uptake.

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Urban Resilience