Someone should write a book on the storage of electricity, BUT also as a "compare and contrast" horsepower storage in it's many forms. Of course such a book would be outdated the minute it was published. So such a compilation would have to be somehow in real time and always evolving. James, you are of course the go to battery guy, and I also share your opinion that if we invested in these storage systems with more vigor, there may well be a worthy payoff. Let's share the risk and reward, using common systems, or rather consortium systems, and average out our efforts.
The power and transmission utilitiy models are increasingly as outdated dinosaurs in our new and changing age. We have to get the utilities in the game, so that they can make money as systems change, rather than being marginalized into oblivian. The way to do this is to use the transportation/energy/utility consortium model. All the horses have to pull their weight together, if we don't want the chaos of an infrastructure battle: standard utility models versus the green systems. I see them as both competitive and complimentary, ideally. However ideals don't pay the bills.
In the context of a comprehensive consortium model, standard utilities would be among the new technology players and have skin in the game. The capital reformations must be done fearlessly. This takes leadership and authority, and especially obedience to a broader common grid system. As an example a connected series of PV to battery storage for street and residential lighting. Normally with the utility model of today, the utility loses it's customer base. However this sub grid could be backed up by the electric grid, and by fuel cells that use hydrogen from the wind and wind to battery: and all this could benefit a consortium financially, while it could not be of financial gain for a standard utility model. It makes more sense to delightfully capture the rewards of a consortium model, than have winners and losers in a chaotic systems infrastructure competition. A consortium would have to absorb into itself, the utility and transmission models. Don't freak out. The utilities will make money. Call it a form of pseudo public private dollar cost averaging, or the first cousin thereto. Really it's not half a car pulled by a horse. It's what the design parameters call for. In this way utilities would keep their identity as reasonable long term investments in infrastructure: even all the while the systems evolve from centralized grid power operations, to other than that, and in addition to that.
I would like to think that my pioneer efforts to solve the underlying structural issues of a fossil to green genre shift would be recognized. What's important is that we need storage, but we all need systems just as much to have energy transportability, universal availabilty subject to comodity prices, and adaptability through conversion systems. These answers are not in the common forms we're quite familiar with. What we need and what we want are two different things. We want the solutions to be electrical grid based. This ventures, to my thinking, into the emotional or religious realm, as a rough analogy. This is where we're stuck. But we don't actually need solutions to be electrical grid based. We just need solutions that are practical functional usable and financially achievable. Here's what our real challenge should be, but it isn't. Our real challenge SHOULD be to identify and allow for many storage and shipment systems, of both an electrical nature, and as well with other horsepower forms. Our channel to this would be prototype systems, within regions such as my Rhode Island and Southeast Massachusetts model. In order to think clearly about these hybrid prototype systems they must have an economic base worthy of the future. They must have an all in participation to cover the exigencies of our shift. The consortium way represents a relaxation of the common utility model, in our time of dire need. Infrastructure designs must have their foundations in economic modeling structures that are practical. Storage AND shipment AND capital reformation planning are the three keys to our green and profitable future.
Fossil fuels married to electric power have imprinted upon our brains the importance of themselves. We are old friends. But we have to recognize how tightly they are tied to our new carbon enemy: steam plants fueled by a carbon based system that has evolved into our undoing. Our new systems of my design are nonesuch, but dovetail with the old to favor our transition, ie: CAES and coal hybrids etc. Our problem in thinking is a reliance upon the old, in an effort to design the new. It's such a problem that people can not even begin to think about full scale redesigns for our systems. The rules will change. And the new rules that go hand in hand with those changes, don't have to cause chaos and market collapses and breakdowns. Quite the opposite: Bounty for the world with new green systems will be the wave of our future.