Increased battery capacity is the future
Renewable energy is the future for human society. The move away from fossil fuels is vital for the long term survival of an earth capable of harbouring life in a way we are familiar with, and the only serious opposition to a move away from fossil fuels comes from those who are financially invested in the industry.
There is a growing recognition of the need to wean ourselves off the oil as soon as possible among almost everyone else. Oil, gas and coal will run out one day, and the longer we leave the transition away from fossil fuels the harder it will be shake the habit.
Expanding renewable energy should be good for everyone. As the REthinking Energy 2017 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA) notes, accelerated deployment of renewable energy technology will “fuel economic growth, create new employment opportunities, enhance human welfare and contribute to a climate-safe future.”
Governments around the world are finally committing to renewable energy in meaningful ways, affording the transition to a healthier future some more momentum. 170 countries have established renewable energy targets and, of those, 150 have put in place measures which actively incentivise the creating of more renewable energy sources.
All of this is good, but many renewable energy sources cannot run 24 hours a day. For instance, wind turbines and solar panels obviously have times when they are not creating energy. In order to make these technologies viable in the long term it is likely that storing energy will have to be given as much attention as creating it in the first place.
Breakthroughs in the area of energy storage will help expand access to renewable energy and, in turn, grow the sector and make it more viable. The IREA report predicts that worldwide battery storage will increase from the 1 gigawatt we have today to 250 gigawatts by 2030. This is a massive change and would revolutionise the international power grid. Once people have access to renewable energy and long-term storage they tend to be removed from the fossil fuel grid forever.
Every little helps in the fight to save our climate, and it seems that all sides of the problem are being studied and innovated on.