Time to nail the number one problem of green energy



































ONE of the frustrating things about renewable energy is that there is so much of it available and yet we utilise so little. Every minute, enough solar radiation hits the earth to meet global energy needs for a year. Wind energy, too, could single-handedly power the planet.












Why don't we harvest this bounty and end our dangerous reliance on coal, oil and gas? One of the main reasons is the storage problem. Whereas fossil fuels conveniently package up chemical energy for release on demand, wind and solar only generate electricity at the whim of the weather.











What's needed is a way to store surplus wind and solar energy. That much has been obvious for years, but there are signs that the problem is finally reaching its rightful place - at the very top of the renewables agenda. Technologies are advancing, particularly liquid-air storage (see "Saving renewable energy with air"). Investment is pouring in. And outdated regulations that have acted as a drag are being swept away. Anyone who tells you that renewable energy will never be reliable enough to replace fossil fuels is increasingly telling yesterday's story.



















































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