Many of us are very optimistic about the myriad ways that we may be able to store energy in the future. Why is this crucial? With sufficient energy storage capacity, not only can be be at much less risk when the whims of weather and natural disasters disrupt our production capabilities, but we will much better be able to meet peak energy demands whenever and wherever we need it.
The quick point today is that while advancements in batteries are surely essential for wind and solar to make up any significant portion of our energy mix (due to intermittency problems for the most part) the same is true for nuclear. You see, currently nuclear has a physical limit of how useful it can be for our grid – something like the potential to produce 40% of our electricity. This is too bad as nuclear fuel (with breeding) is virtually unlimited, it produces zero carbon and particulate emissions, and is one of the few energy sources that is scalable over reasonable time scales.
Thus, any improvement in energy storage technology, is not just going to be a boon for wind and solar, but rather it is also going to be a tremendous boon to nuclear. Thus, it is not at all clear to me that in the “race” ‘for the future of energy, that battery innovations will lead to any increase in wind or solar.