Why do we need energy storage?

We are transitioning towards an energy system, in which ‘low-carbon’ renewable energy sources like wind and solar power play a significant role. As wind and solar power produce a variable energy output (a characteristic known as intermittency), it will be a challenge to ensure consistent supply, especially when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. That's why effective electrical energy storage will play such a crucial role in the transition to a low-carbon energy system. When electricity is being generated in abundance, energy storage technologies can convert it to a form that can be stored, before converting it back to electricity (or directly used) when it is most needed.

Grantham Research Associate Dr Sheridan Few discusses why we need electrical energy storage, the key technologies involved and his predictions for the future of energy storage.

Our work

A number of energy storage technologies are currently under development. At the Grantham Institute, we are working towards understanding how the costs and technical characteristics of a range of these technologies might develop over the next 15 years. We model how the most promising technologies could become part of a future energy system that integrates low-carbon power from intermittent, renewable sources with power from the existing grid.

For more information, see our poster on energy storage for balancing intermittent renewables, or get in touch with Sheridan Few or Ajay Gambhir