Venture Capatalist: Energy Storage For The Future

According to a recent article, California passed a bill stating that one third of their total energy supply must be in the form of renewable energy by the year 2020. This bill has pushed major venture capitalists such as Peter Thiel and Vinod Khosla as well as major corporations like General Electric CO and Microsoft Corp to fund various different projects. Thiel and Khosla have invested money into compressed air as a means of energy storage. The idea works in tandem with windmills, energy is generated by the mills which is then funneled beneath the earth as compressed air. The compressed air is stored in a geologic storage structure, and when the air is needed it is funneled back to the surface and heated to produce electricity.

Charles Eadie

Energy storage is considered the “Holy Grail” as studies show that in California, grids have 51 gigawatts of peak capacity for heat to boost air conditioning demand even when it only requires two thirds of that amount for the majority of the year. Unfortunately, the cost of building a battery substitute for the current natural gas powered plants are a major deterrent. Major storage companies such as A123 and Flywheel maker have already filed for bankruptcy. This doesn’t even account for the once available government subsidies which have since then run dry. However, the issue still remains that a substitute form of energy storage must be utilized by the year 2020. With venture capitalist funding the projects, the challenge becomes more business oriented which will hopefully promote the severity of the need for renewable energy.