David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca
In 2015, the city of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, achieved the highest level of wind power integration in North America. While the province of P.E.I. is already a leader with 26 per cent of its electricity coming from wind power, the City of Summerside Electric Utility has ratcheted that up to an astonishing 46 per cent by adding a smart grid with energy storage.
Renewable energy with storage has a number of advantages over fossil fuels. It can discharge power to the grid to meet demand more quickly and efficiently, and it's less prone to disruption, because power sources are distributed over a large area, so if one part is knocked out by a storm, for example, other parts keep the system running.
There are not many entrepreneurs who can command a room like Elon Musk. When he stepped onto a stage in May to unveil the Powerwall the audience oohed and ahhed and dutifully pre-ordered more than 38,000 of Tesla's new home battery systems.
This may seem surprising to us in Canada, but California has a lot of extra wind and solar power being produced at times when it is not needed, so storing that energy and saving it for peak periods of the day helps avoid the need for new power plants.
When people think of energy storage, they think of batteries. We've had them in their modern incarnation for more than 200 years and there are examples in the archaeological record of things that could be batteries that are more than 2000 years old.
Entrepreneurs, inventors and researchers all over the world are beavering away, trying to find an answer to a multi-billion dollar question: How do you cheaply and reliably store energy for the grid? In Canada we've got many entrepreneurs working on figuring out energy storage.