We’ve talked a lot in this blog about renewable energy sources like solar and wind, as these two seem to be garnering the bulk of media attention when talking about new and affordable sources of energy. But these are also what are called “unpredictable generating resources” and as we all know, we need energy when we need it, not necessarily right when it’s generated. And output from these sources can change on a dime, or should we say, can change on a cloud?

 So now, more attention is being paid to large-scale storage ideas for these alternative sources. And in California at least, energy companies are going to have to think about this thanks to a bill that Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law this week. The bill is the closest yet to mandating that utilizes invest in energy storage systems.

 The Federal government is also putting their money where their mouth is with several recently awarded prizes to teams who can come up with innovative storage solutions. Scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute were just awarded a $2 million National Science Foundation grant to develop new ceramic materials for use in storage.  And Strategic Polymer Sciences was one of 33 companies this month to receive a $1 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop highly effective storage techniques. 

 Do you think we’ll identify effective techniques in time to meet our alternative energy goals?