Re: Much needed publicity for energy storage at last!
No, I'm not talking about just amassing idle 'tweets' and 'likes' for energy storage solutions. I'm hoping that the extensive news coverage generated by this relatively unremarkable battery's association with Elon Musk - that nice man from the Iron Man films with the fancy suit and the sports cars and space rockets - will go some way to making people realise that the mad dash to renewables-only national power generation is not as simple as a lot of people think it is.
You can't just turn off all gas, coal and nuclear power stations and expect solar panels and wind turbines to do the same job.
It's popular policy for all politicians wanting to capture the green vote to commit to quite alarming cuts in carbon emissions that will require a huge reduction in power generation from fossil fuels. Add to that a growing demand to reduce air pollution by removing the Evil Diesel vehicles from the roads - preferably by replacing them with electric vehicles - and you end up in a situation where demand for electricity is likely to rise sharply at the same time as our generating capacity becomes subject to large weather-based fluctuations.
At the moment, electricity demand governs supply. But if you turn decommission nearly all gas, coal and nuclear power stations then people need to understand that with nothing left but wind turbines and solar panels then the situation will reverse and electricity supply will govern demand. (And the billions wasted on over-hyped smart meters won't do a damn thing to help either.)
Storage of surplus solar and wind energy needs to be incorporated, on a massive scale, into any future where the majority of energy generation depends on solar and wind. As supply will not usually be able to match demand, we must find ways of storing energy that is surplus to the level of demand at its time of generation and releasing it when there is a deficit.
Whether it's through battery installations or flywheels on a domestic level, compressed air plants on industrial estates to serve small towns, pumping water up to old slate quarries on Welsh mountainsides on a regional level or something else entirely, we need to invest in some combination of them.
How many people, unquestioningly supporting the politicians carbon reduction targets on the basis that anything green must be good assume that we'll all be OK if we just build some more wind turbines and install some more solar panels, appreciate this?
How many of those people realise that in a house with a bog-standard domestic solar installation today, solar panels don't generate any power if there's a power cut? How many people realise that you need batteries and additional control equipment to maintain power to a property with solar panels fitted if the grid goes down on a sunny day, let alone to provide a reservoir of energy that can be tapped into throughout the night? How many of those people realise that renewable energy supply is poorly matched to demand?
Hopefully there are a few more after today's news.
Even Eddie Mair, when introducing the news item on PM this evening sounded like he was suggesting that for the first time ever, a new type of battery that could store the sun's energy had been invented!