The Paris Deal Needs Energy Storage and So Do You

by Anna Gretz
December 22, 2015
Sustainability

The Paris climate summit peaked with a historic agreement this year.

countries around the world to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and pledging cash money to support these commitments. The weekend resulted in some vigorous handshaking, but we’re guessing those were some sweaty palms. The task ahead is daunting, and requires advances in a number of areas. One of those areas is energy storage.

The Deal

Missed the news from Paris this month? We’ll lay out the main details of the deal for you:

So, there’s the agreement. And it’s a pretty tall order. If everything goes according to the plan, the world would reach net-zero emissions before the end of the century. Sounds great, right? But it’s not going to be easy.

How to Stick to 2 degrees Celsius

The major, specific requirement of the agreement was to limit temperature rise to 2 degreesC Celsius. This isn’t just an arbitrary number. Many scientists belive that if the global temperature rises just two degrees higher, we’re going to see some really scary natural stuff go down. In order to avoid the food and water shortages that accompany worldwide-scale flooding and drought, we’ve got to keep things under control. So how do we stick to the 2 degree plan?

Leaders in the field of environmental and energy studies say that it comes down to three major areas of technology: advanced nuclear reactors, carbon capture, and energy storage. Since energy storage is near and dear to us at Swell, we are going to focus on the last of the three. With some investments in science and commercialization, a global energy storage boom is possible.

Energy Storage on a Massive Scale

In order to really move away from fossil fuels, we need to focus on storing the intermittent energy provided by renewable sources like solar and wind. It’s no secret that the wind and the sun aren’t consistent sources of energy. The earth rotates. The sun goes down. The winds wax and wane. But what it lacks in consistency, wind and solar make up for in strength, supply, and, well, consistency. Worldwide, there’s a crazy amount of solar and wind power ready to be harnessed, and even though it’s not always sunny where you are… it’s always sunny somewhere. The sun itself is pretty much as reliable as resources get. It’s not going anywhere (and if it does, we’re going with it.)

So, if we’re serious about decarbonizing the electrical grid, we’re going to have to get serious about storing all of the electricity we can get from the sun and wind. What’s specifically involved in “getting serious?” A lot. In 2014, the U.S. has set up about 100 megawatts of grid energy storage. To reach the goal, the U.S., along with Europe, China and India, are going to have to add 310 gigawatts more. Not megawatts… gigawatts. This wasn’t exactly in the forecast. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

2015 brought some really exciting new advances in lithium-ion batteries. These new batteries are high-capacity, and low-cost. They’re exactly what we’re looking for. But even low-cost batteries come at a high expense if we’re talking about a grid-wide scale. It’s a cost that U.S. isn’t confident that it can pay. As we move forward, closer and closer to the 2020 date set by the Paris Agreement, we’ll keep watch over what steps the United States takes toward an energy storage takeover. In the meantime, we’re going to keep spreading energy storage in the residential world, and you can too. Enter: the home battery.

Take a Step Forward with a Home Battery

Home batteries are energy storage on a micro-scale, but they do for you exactly what grid-wide storage would do for nation-wide renewable energy: they store the energy generated by renewable energy sources like wind and solar, so you have reliable electricity when you need it.

Depending on where you live, the sun checks out at a certain time in the early evening, and shows up hours later, in the early morning, taking all of its energy with it. This leaves anyone relying on solar power without electricity. To make it worse, these are the hours when we need electricity the most. So yeah. Solar energy poses a pretty big problem. But there is also a really simple solution.

Home batteries are the simplest and best way to solve the solar energy glitch -- you know, the whole sun-going-down thing. Experts from the fields of science, engineering, technology, and sustainability are all coming to the same conclusion: energy storage in the form of home batteries are the best way to launch residential use of renewable energy into the future.

With home batteries, your household can take a step forward into the future of renewable energy, cutting your personal ties to fossil fuels, and taking the power back into your own hands.

Home batteries provide your household with the independence and reliability of electricity whenever you need it, without having to buy it from the grid.

It’s pretty perfect. So instead of just watching to see how the U.S. moves forward into a cleaner and more sustainable future, step in and participate with a home battery.