Renewable energy makes up a greater part of our power supply than ever before, with rapid deployment of wind, solar, hydro and other sources contributing to greener energy worldwide. But there’s a problem. Renewable sources like solar and wind don’t always produce the right amount of power at the right time.
This week’s podcast guest runs a company that looks to solve that challenge. Ramya Swaminathan is CEO of Malta Inc, a spinoff from Alphabet’s moonshot factory, X. Her company ingeniously repurposes old-tech – and uses molten salt – to convert electricity into heat. That heat can be converted back into electricity to meet demand.
My conversation with Ramya was brilliant. We discussed why solving the energy storage problem is essential to developing a green grid, how entrepreneurs and policymakers can make that happen, and why the future of energy could arrive sooner than you might think.
You can 🎧 listen to the podcast or 📖 read a transcript here.
The Big Idea
Solar panels can’t generate electricity when the sun isn’t shining; wind turbines can’t produce on a still day. That problem – known as intermittency – stops renewables being reliable.
Too much electricity can also be a problem. If renewable energy sources produce an excess of electricity when the grid doesn’t need it, they might face curtailment – a temporary reduction in output. That’s inefficient, and can (if you’ll pardon the pun) turn off investors who want to be sure their capital is working to maximum available potential.
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