Energy for a Rainy Day, or a Windless One

With new energy supplies and demand growing rapidly worldwide, companies in the United States, Europe and across the developing world are spending billions of dollars each year on new power plants, wind turbines and solar panels. Now the focus is increasingly on how to store the bonanza, so that electricity generated from the likes of renewables can be quickly pumped into a country’s energy network as demand skyrockets — say, when people return home from work.

To meet global climate change commitments, the International Energy Agency recently called on the United States, the European Union, China and India to invest a combined $380 billion in energy storage by the middle of the century. That would fund a total of 310 gigawatts of new projects, or more than 28 times what is currently expected to be built by the end of the decade.


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