Michael Levitin reports on how a raft of new legislation, combined with lower costs, is leading to an explosion in storage capacity in the Golden State
In the race to lower emissions and cut energy costs to consumers, battery storage has emerged as a leading clean energy solution in US states where solar, wind and other renewables are generating an ever-greater percentage of electricity. Recent aggressive policies in California have driven the battery market, and other states are following suit as the utility industry seizes on a decrease in costs and a growth in legislation to monetize storage technology.
Up until a few years ago, batteries were considered too expensive and untested to be used in a utility setting. But in the same way that costs for solar and wind power have dropped sharply over the past decade, lithium ion and other battery storage technologies have fallen dramatically in price, leading to a boom in their production and use. At the same time, the quality and performance of batteries has increased.
Compared with eight or 10 years ago, storage is much more in the toolkit of the electrical system
Analysts predict that Tesla’s new Gigafactory in Nevada will make enough lithium-ion batteries to further drive down costs by 30%. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates global battery storage could grow from 1.5 gigawatts (GW) today to...