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Long-Term Energy Storage: What are the Options When Lithium-ion Falls Short?

Lithium-ion batteries are best positioned to meet the demand for energy storage over the next five to 10 years, but in the long run, other battery storage technologies will be needed for long-term energy storage and larger- scale applications.

That’s the word from Lux Research, which recently outlined up-and-coming battery storage technologies in a teleconference.

Right now, the need for storage is prompted by the growing use of renewable energy on the grid, said Chris Robinson, an analyst for Lux.

The amount of wind and solar on the grid has doubled, he said. Half the electricity added last year was wind or solar, driven largely by cost reductions. “Even just in the last 15 years, we have seen a big drop in the cost of solar modules. We don’t expect this trend to change,” he said.

However, the large amount of renewable energy being added to the grid is causing grid instability, Robinson said. With solar, there’s instability in the morning when there’s often too much solar coming online. And in the evening, the grid becomes unstable when the amount of solar decreases.

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