Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Issue Is Going To Be Storage

This is the right way, in general, to think about next gen energy market.  Smaller, distributed generation points will be linked with better software to maximize efficiency.  The problem, which is not mentioned here, is storage.  We need a lot of energy storage to accommodate peak demand, and peak efficiency offsets.  Much more with renewable energy technologies since things like solar and wind can't be brought on and offline in the same way that a gas power plant can.

I was at PNNL a couple weeks back listening and talking with lots of people thinking about this problem.  Software does help a lot, but we still need some technology breakthrough that will let us get the storage we need.  Geographically limited pumped hydro is still the king.  Flow batteries seem to be the most promising new(er) technology, though they aren't quite there yet.  Other battery technologies/improvements are still mostly geared toward portability and mobility, though if they can be brought down in cost and improved in cycle life they could be used to the same end.

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