What To Know About Energy Storage on the Future Grid (Text Version)

This is the text version of the video What To Know About Energy Storage on the Future Grid.

Narrator: There could be a lot more energy storage on the U.S. power grid in the coming decades.

Storage could keep the lights on when demand for electricity soars, or during times when wind or solar aren't generating much power.

It could add flexibility to integrate more renewables and help limit the need for new transmission lines.

And it could reduce emissions—yes please!

As the cost of storage plummets and more wind and solar are added to the grid, storage could really take off.

But how could super-high levels of storage impact how the power system works?

NREL took a closer look at this in the Storage Futures Study. A team of researchers used advanced computer models to look at dozens of future scenarios out to 2050.

NREL found that storage could be added all over the country in the coming decades.

Most storage in the next few years will probably be lithium-ion batteries—basically bigger versions of the ones in your phone.

Batteries are a cheaper option to provide power for a few hours when the grid needs it most.

But other storage technologies are being developed that could store energy in all sorts ways… like new batteries, fuels, liquified air, or superheated sand.

High levels of storage could help the grid run more efficiently, every hour of the day, all year long.

And as more storage is added to the grid, it could provide power for longer than a day.

Storage could even eventually be used to stockpile energy during the spring and fall when demand is lower and then help power the grid during summer and winter when demand is higher.

This superpower will be extra important in a variable renewable energy power system.

As storage and solar continue to get cheaper, it could be added to your house or business—bringing backup power to hundreds of thousands of buildings across the country.

So, while storage may be a small part of today's power system, it's poised to become a key piece of a flexible, resilient, and low-carbon future grid.

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Learn more about NREL's Storage Futures Study at www.nrel.gov/analysis/storage-futures