Every day, in more ways than we even realize, you and I depend on the reliability of our electric grid-the network of wires that connect power plants, houses, and businesses in an endless circuit. But that grid is flawed in a lot of ways, some of which hinder our ability to make energy more sustainable. For instance, the grid has no storage, at least not enough to matter. And that means that it’s not as reliable as we think it is.
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How do we build a world that’s less dependent on fossil fuels? One solution is right under your feet. Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) is a very boring name for a very awesome system that turns the Earth itself into a giant battery. Experts say it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to store energy on a massive scale—something that we’ll have to do if we want to use more wind and solar power, and less coal and natural gas. Here’s how it works.