By: Robert Manning
What is the kernel of the issue?
The biggest single obstacle to scaling up intermittent renewable energy sources—wind and solar—as primary clean sources of electricity is cost and efficiency of energy storage.
Why is the issue important?
Breakthroughs in efficiency and cost of energy storage is critical to accelerating the transition to a post-petroleum, zero-emissions economy needed to mitigate climate change. But for two decades, batteries and energy storage technologies have only been improving incrementally.
What is the recommendation?
The Biden administration should, with bipartisan support, launch a crash public-private Manhattan-type project under the Department of Energy, led by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) working with key private sector innovators. A breakthrough in battery storage could lower costs, increase efficiency—boosting consumer appeal and accelerating the use of electric cars—and enable wind and solar to scale up faster, both of which are key to President Biden’s climate agenda.