Advances in Long-Term Energy Storage You Need to Know

Oct. 26, 2022
Battery storage companies raised close to $4 billion from venture capital and other investors in the first nine months of 20222. Increased funding boosts opportunities for those startups

Many experts believe that long-term energy storage could be crucial to a more sustainable future.

What if specialized techniques could capture power, allowing people to use it weeks or months later? For example, solar and wind are weather-dependent. Having a mechanism to save energy for later use enables people to keep relying on renewables during periods of reduced generation.

Knowledgeable, forward-thinking individuals have investigated numerous methods, from battery storage to less-conventional possibilities. Here are some recent innovations that help show the industry’s promising nature.

Battery Storage Supports Decarbonization and Varied Demand

 A 2020 McKinsey & Co. report positioned battery storage as a vital aspect of helping power companies move toward decarbonization. More specifically, study authors suggest that remote and isolated markets could achieve at least 80% decarbonization if providers chose the lowest-cost power mix1. However, they could get to the 90% level by selecting battery storage options. The same goes for thermal-heavy, mature markets, such as Germany and parts of the United States, the authors confirmed.

 In France, a grid operator may offer contracts to parties with battery storage solutions. Three substations in the company produce too much renewable energy, while electric vehicle growth in another area increases demand. Representatives believe batteries could address those irregularities.

 Once more major organizations start taking this route, others should follow suit. It also helps that battery storage companies raised close to $4 billion from venture capital and other investors in the first nine months of 2022, according to recent reports from Mercom Capital2. Increased funding boosts opportunities for those startups.

Home Battery Storage Becoming More Affordable

Power outages are frustrating, and many people live in areas where they can count on several prolonged ones per year due to inclement weather. However, home battery storage systems can help in those situations. They pull power from the grid or solar panels and save it for emergencies. Cost is one of the downsides of such a setup, however. It’s a significant investment for many households, particularly if they purchase solar panels at the same time.

However, a German company called sonnen (it trademarked name in lower case) could change that. It recently launched an all-in-one system for the U.S. market. A competitive recommended retail price of $9,500 makes the option less expensive than those from leading manufacturers such as Tesla3. When consumers can power their homes with batteries and not break the bank, they’ll feel more receptive to this emerging technology.

Established Technology Shows Potential for Energy Storage

Recent research suggests making improvements in long-term energy storage may not require forging ahead with previously untested technologies. A team’s investigation into the matter indicated that seasonal pumped hydropower storage (SPHS) could keep energy and water ready for later use.

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Although many people consider battery storage a long-term solution, these researchers categorized it as a relatively short-term one. They clarified that SPHS is a more feasible option for lasting needs than hydrogen, which is not commercially viable yet.

The group’s work highlighted several places worldwide as especially well-suited to SPHS, ranging from Papua New Guinea to Russian mountain ranges. The research also emphasized that SPHS is a relatively untapped option, yet a cost-effective and readily available solution. This research may encourage others to examine long-term energy storage possibilities they previously overlooked.

A Common Building Material Could Store Energy

Today’s whole-house battery systems are supplementary ones made in impressively compact sizes. What if an energy storage option could double as a home’s structure? A team made progress with that idea by using red bricks to hold energy until people needed to use it. They bought bricks for 65 cents from a nearby Home Depot to build their proof-of-concept4.

Succeeding meant coating the blocks with an electricity-conducting polymer called PEDOT. Experiments showed that 50 bricks could give five hours of emergency electricity to a home. Moreover, the researchers noted that if a brick wall was also a supercapacitor, it could be recharged hundreds of thousands of times per hour.

Installers Notice Lithium-Ion Battery Boom

Lithium-ion batteries are among the most promising choices for residential long-duration power storage. Some solar power installation companies began offering package deals where consumers could get panels and lithium-ion battery storage installed simultaneously. Certain U.S. markets have seen increases of up to 60% in people taking advantage of those offers5.

Other companies encourage customers who want large-scale projects to get battery storage at the same time. These trends suggest that people could see more power-storage dual solutions available commercially soon.

Energy Storage Progress Helps Everyone

These examples emphasize that energy storage advancements frequently happen, although not always in the ways people expect. As researchers learn more about these innovations, parties that use or provide energy will benefit in measurable ways.


About the author: Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized. She has more than five years experience writing and editing and loves exploring innovations impacting the energy industry.


 1.   McKinsey

2.    Mercom Capital 

3.    Energy Storage News

4.    Washington University of St. Louis

5.    PV Magazine USA