Renewable energy holds the promise of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. But there are times when solar and wind farms generate more electricity than is needed by consumers.
>”We calculated how much energy is used over the full lifecycle of the battery – from the mining of raw materials to the installation of the finished device,” Barnhart said. “Batteries with high energetic cost consume more fossil fuels and therefore release more carbon dioxide over their lifetime. If a battery’s energetic cost is too high, its overall contribution to global warming could negate the environmental benefits of the wind or solar farm it was supposed to support.” […]
In addition to batteries, the researchers considered other technologies for storing renewable energy, such as pumped hydroelectric storage, which uses surplus electricity to pump water to a reservoir behind a dam. Later, when demand for energy is high, the stored water is released through turbines in the dam to generate electricity. […]
Storage is not the only way to improve grid reliability. “Energy that would otherwise be lost during times of excess could be used to pump water for irrigation or to charge a fleet of electric vehicles, for example,” Dale said.
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