#Forbes: How #California Wildfires Are Driving Energy Storage Beyond #Lithium-Ion
Jeff McMahon Senior Contributor
California needs batteries. When California is on fire, it needs batteries that can keep a home, a hospital, a fire station, a senior center running longer than the four-hour standard of lithium-ion.
“What’s happened that’s brought this to bear has been the wildfires and the contingency issues we have in the PSPS (public-safety power shut-off) events,” said Mike Gravely, research program manager for the California Energy Commission.
What California needs has outsized significance in the energy-storage industry. The state expects to install 2,400 megawatts of energy storage in the next two years, a market-driving number that is, even so, a mere fraction of the 20,000 to 30,000 MW Gravely expects the state to need by 2045.
Lithium-ion’s seeming limitation to four hours can also be traced to California. It’s not so much a feature of the technology as a feature of California’s market, Gravely explained. The grid operator there reimburses storage resources that supply a minimum of four hours and, he said, “that’s what’s been driving most of our systems.”