Electricity grids that incorporate storage for power sourced from renewable resources could cut carbon dioxide emissions substantially more than systems that simply increase renewably sourced power, a new study has found.

The study, published today in the journal Nature Communications, found that storage could help make more efficient use of power generated by sources such as wind and solar and could help power grids move away from relying on fossil fuels for energy.

“With solar and wind, you can’t flip them on immediately when you need more power,” said Ramteen Sioshansi, a co-author of the study and professor of integrated systems engineering at The Ohio State University. “So the more renewable energy you put into your system, the greater your need to be able to forecast when those energy sources might be available — unless you can find an affordable, reliable way to store that energy.”

The study was among the first of its kind to evaluate the role energy storage might play in making renewable resources more reliable on a grid-wide basis. […]