Increases in battery storage capacity will soon transform renewable energy. Battery manufacturing is expected to more than double by 2021, with China leading the charge in building new factories. US states, meanwhile, are already investing in battery storage to support the growth of wind and solar power. This battery boom will help utility-scale energy and individual consumers: a new study finds that batteries could allow solar households to start “defecting” from the power grid in a little over a decade. Just one question remains: where are we going to get the lithium for all of these batteries?

John R. Platt

is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His “Extinction Countdown” column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists.

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