When it comes to grabbing headlines with visions of the future, few can beat entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk. He’s behind SpaceX, the rocket company that he sees as a vehicle to his dream of colonising Mars. Better known, perhaps, are his Tesla electric cars, an increasingly common sight in the US and here in the UK. While powerful rockets and fast cars might be the most exciting of Musk’s products, his hopes of changing the way we live are much more likely to be delivered by something much more prosaic – Tesla’s Powerwall. Much less glamorous than Musk’s other concepts, this plain white battery, intended to harness energy from renewable sources such as the wind and sun and make it available for household use or feed back into the power network, could have a far bigger impact than anything else the billionaire has dreamt up. The concept behind these batteries in homes – which working together are known as a “distributed grid” – is that they will store up cheap electricity generated when demand is lower, then discharge it at peak times when energy from the traditional network supplied mainly by large power stations is expensive. Not only do these batteries – known as “behind the meter” storage – raise the prospect of reducing households’ electricity costs by optimising the time they receive power, they could cut further bills by selling excess power back to the network at times of high demand. They could also provide an emergency back-up if the main grid fails.
Telegraph 15th May 2016 read more »