Why batteries are essential to fighting climate change

Solar and wind power are the glamorous twins of the clean-electricity revolution. It is thrilling to see a field of glistening panels absorbing the sun’s energy or a vast turbine twirling above the ocean. Stationary power storage does not have quite the same allure—think of a large metal shed stuffed with piles of big batteries. Nonetheless, the ability to stockpile energy on a massive scale will be of supreme importance if the world is to wean itself off filthy fossil-fuel power plants. The technology is gradually getting cheaper and attracting investment. But more needs to be done to ensure that it sparks.

To see why storage is important, work backwards from the most common strategy to limit climate change. Plans typically reduce emissions from electricity generation by switching it away from fossil fuels, then electrify other carbon-belching activities, such as driving cars and heating buildings. Abundant, reliable, clean electricity is the foundation on which many green investments and policies rest. And to work well, clean electricity in turn depends on storage.

Read more: Economist