While renewable energy provides clean, sustainable power that emits little to no carbon emissions, its intermittency has long been an issue. Often criticized for not having the same base load capabilities as coal, natural gas or nuclear, renewable energy has lacked the ability to provide a constant source of energy. Furthermore, the dominance of internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) has rested on the mileage of their electric counterparts – until recently.
Base load energy usually refers to the minimum power generation capability of a certain energy source, whereby it is able to produce the minimum amount of energy required by a power grid at any given time without interruption. For example, coal, nuclear, or natural gas power plants are able to assure base load power as long as there is fuel to burn, while the intermittency of renewables has always raised questions as to their reliability as a major energy source. However, as sustainable energy sources have become cheaper to implement and technological advances in power storage have revolutionized the electronics industry, there is a new debate regarding the concept of base load energy when it comes to renewables.
In recent years, the need for a centralized power source that can provide energy to an entire grid has become less pervasive. A diversified energy portfolio and decentralized energy grid has become more desirable, evident in South Australia and several German regions shutting down coal-fired power plants that usually provided base load support in favor of renewable energy. Base load energy is no longer a necessity for a modern electrical grid, and even if it was, large scale batteries are making them redundant. In addition to providing energy storage for a range of electronic devices we use in our daily lives, lithium-ion batteries power electric vehicles (EVs) as well as both micro and macro energy grids.
These batteries have given renewable power the ability to provide base load energy, and have eliminated the last major argument against a transition away from fossil fuels. Lithium batteries have solved the intermittency issues revolving around renewable energy and provided EVs with a simple, effective way of storing a vast amount of energy while also reducing the need for consistent base load power from a singular source. Lithium-ion batteries along with sustainable energy are set to power a new era. To mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, a renewable energy transition is key. For that to happen, renewable energy needs a reliable storage medium – which lithium batteries provide.