Intermittent renewable energy sources, wind and solar can generate electricity for less money ($/kWh) than any form or fossil fuel (coal, oil or natural gas). Wind and solar can provide reliable, sustainable power twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, if is coupled with energy storage systems.
The demand for energy storage systems is increasing at a rapid pace as the world moves from fossil fuel to renewable energy. The primary sources for energy storage have been pumped storage associated with hydropower projects and battery storage. A new, low cost energy storage system has just hit the market, which may revolutionize energy storage and accelerate the demand for wind and solar projects around the world.
Energy Vault has announced the commercial availability of an energy storage system that is based on the principles used in pumped storage in hydropower projects. Energy Vault is an infrastructure development company that provides advanced electrical power management platforms for renewable energy and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
Energy Vault’s gravity based, energy storage system uses the principals of potential and kinetic energy with a cloud-based software platform to operate a newly developed six-arm crane. The crane is automated and moves massive concrete bricks that provide the basis for the storage and discharge of electricity. Energy Vault’s energy storage system can provide the benefits of pumped storage in hydropower but at a significantly lower cost.
Utilities will only abandon fossil fueled power plants, if energy storage systems can make intermittent renewable energy sources, like wind and solar capable of providing power to their consumers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Fossil fueled power plants still offer the safety net of sustained power reliability. The new, Energy Vault energy storage system has the potential to accelerate the move from fossil fuel to renewable energy around the world.