With their aggressive renewables goal of one third of their electricity by 2020, California is aiming for 1.3 gigawatts of storage capacity in the same time frame.

California, whose green ambitions helped the solar and wind industries take root, is taking an essential next step by proposing a sharp rise in energy storage to better integrate renewable power with the rest of the grid.

Power from sun and wind fluctuates dramatically, so capturing it for later use makes the supply more predictable.

"We can't just rely on sunlight," Governor Jerry Brown told the Intersolar conference in San Francisco last month. "We've got to bottle the sunlight."

The benefit of installing storages systems is being able to supply energy during peak hours without having to build more power plants to handle the extra load, saving customers money over time by not having to pay higher rates during those peak hours.

Even though adding storage capacity will involve a significant investment from utility rate-payers, utilities, and State and Federal funding, the advances in storage technology and the continued benefits and savings from a storage system make California’s goal worthwhile.

Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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