In the past few decades, solar and wind energy have made remarkable progress; they’re now satisfying significant portions of our energy demand. But there’s a problem holding us back from relying on them even more: They can’t be stored very well.
Solar energy is only generated while the sun is up, and wind energy while the wind is blowing. But our power grids are designed to respond to demand whenever it occurs. Even suddenly, as is the case with storms and heat waves.
When solar and wind are not available and demand spikes, power companies need to burn fossil fuels — particularly natural gas, because it can be stored easily. If we want a power grid that relies solely on solar and wind energy, we’ll need to come up with ways to store them. Luckily, experts and engineers worldwide are coming up with some genius plans.
Watch the video above to learn more about how we might be able to store solar and wind energy and, finally, transition away from fossil fuels.
You can find this video and the entire library of Vox’s videos on YouTube.