Why the future of the power grid depends on giant batteries
Spinning flywheels, underground caves, damming up rivers
Say “battery,” and most people think of the device that powers our phones, our laptops, and — maybe if they’re being ambitious — our electric vehicles. But it’s time to think bigger: at their core, batteries are simply a way to store energy, and, with some creativity, they’re capable of powering electric vehicles, houses, and entire cities.
There’s the Tesla batteries acting as backup for a wind farm in Australia. There’s PG&E building the world’s biggest battery in California to store electricity for its grid. And there’s the $3 billion project to turn the Hoover Dam into one big battery.
Being able to store energy is key, and there are plenty of ways to do it. The Verge explores the latest developments in energy storage, from those giant batteries to infinitely spinning flywheels to bottling gas in underground caverns. We’ll talk to Tesla, and explore the pros and cons of each method and what they mean for how we’ll power our lives in the future.