Tesla, a company known more for their electric cars than anything else, have just launched a game changing technology that may have made renewable energy a genuinely useable alternative to traditional power sources.
Alongside the increase of digitization in our society, the need for electricity to power the gadgets that enable this has become an important issue. The cost of electricity produced through fossil fuels has been increasing due to the fact that fossil fuels are a finite resource, so the more we use and the more demand grows, the supply decreases alongside it.
This has meant that as a society we have needed to look at the potential ways that we could utilize renewable energies in order to power our world, something that has been troublesome. The reason for this has been due to the inability for much of this energy to be stored and accessed at a later date. With wind energy we have seen that there needs to be a certain level of wind for it to work and when there is not, there was no way to store the power effectively. There were also similar problems with hydroelectric and solar.
Nuclear has an incredibly negative stigma following the disasters in both Chernobyl and Fukushima. It also requires one of the most dangerous materials known to man to be placed relatively close to large populations. It also requires the waste to be buried with a half life of around 24,000 years, which needs to be kept safely for hundreds of thousands of years.
Tesla’s launch of a battery that can store energy for either backup in case the mains goes down or to be used on a daily cycle, means that the energy created by renewable sources can be stored and accessed throughout the day.
Coming in at a remarkable $3,000 (around $10,000 less than many predicted) it is also affordable for most households, although initially it is thought that businesses will be the biggest market for the new product.
It means that the use of these renewable energy resources become a genuinely viable option for many who would have perhaps seen them as unreliable previously. This is because with no effective means of storage the electricity needed to be used as it was created and when it was not sunny/windy users would need to revert back to the national grid.
Not only this, but the energy it produces is considerably cheaper than other readily available alternatives at only 2c per kilowatt hour compared to 16c for nuclear power. It means that businesses and households will have the ability to produce energy that is both cleaner and cheaper than they could get from the grid or any other kind of power source.
So will this take off?
If anybody was sceptical about it when it was first announced, they have been silenced through the pre-launch sales, with Tesla claiming that units are totally sold out until mid 2016.