The California Legislature has passed the nation's first energy storage bill, an important step in spurring the development of renewable energy projects.
Energy storage is considered vital for renewable energy development because of the intermittant nature of wind and solar power. It allows utility companies to store renewable energy then utilize it later when demand is high. For example, high winds at night would be harnessed in batteries or other storage devices, and then the energy could be exerted in the form of electricity at noon on a hot summer day later on.
Energy storage will limit our need for coal-burning plants and create incentive for more wind, solar, and renewable projects. The bill, AB 2514, is watered down from its original introduction, but is a step in the right direction as it requires the Public Utilities Commission to determine targets for energy storage systems, and to enforce them, by 2016.
- Mitchell Flexo
Photo: The Shiloh Wind Power Plant in California's Montezuma Hills. (Wikimedia Commons)