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Data: U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report by Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association; Chart: Axios Visuals

America deployed a record amount of energy storage in the third quarter of 2020, increasing 240% over the previous high set last quarter, a new report says.

Why it matters: Storing electricity to back up wind and solar is key to ensuring increases in these variable energy sources goes smoothly. That upsurge is a central part of combating climate change.

Driving the news: New battery storage installments in the third quarter reached a record 476 megawatts, according to a report released Wednesday by consulting firm Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association.

What they’re saying: “These eye-catching deployment totals represent only the beginning of a long-anticipated scale up for the U.S. storage market,” said Dan Finn-Foley, Wood Mackenzie’s lead energy storage expert. “Considering the scale of systems anticipated for 2021 we do not expect this record, as remarkable as it is, to stand for long.”

How it works: Continual price declines in batteries and government policies supporting such deployment are behind the big rise, which would have been even bigger had it not been for the pandemic.

  • Most energy storage, and the majority of the increase, is coming from large-scale systems installed directly onto the electricity grid (as opposed to, say, a 5-kilowatt Tesla Powerwall that individuals can install in their homes).
  • For context, 476 megawatts, when deployed, equals about 95,000 of those Tesla Powerwalls.

Go deeper: As wind and solar increase, so do their challenges

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 26, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The rise of corporate renewables

Data: BloombergNEF; Chart: Axios Visuals

Companies worldwide are buying more renewable power than ever, and now some of the biggest U.S. corporations say the Biden administration can help decarbonize the nation's power more quickly.

Why it matters: Corporate procurement of renewables — especially wind and solar — is becoming an important deployment driver as companies take advantage of lower prices and look to meet sustainability pledges.

New wave of strikes will test worker power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thousands of John Deere workers hit the picket line this week after the union smacked down a new worker contract from the farm and equipment maker.

Why it matters: There’s a wave of worker angst spreading across the country. They wield new power that’s come with a historic worker shortage.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Technology

The smart city comes of age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Better sensors, more intelligent AI, and the coming wave of 5G wireless could finally fulfill the promise of the smart city.

Why it matters: How we organize, run and power our cities will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as urbanization expands and the damaging effects of climate change compound.