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3) Gravity-Based Storage

Wind and sunlight, as critics of the renewable technology love to point out, are intermittent. To counter this reality, renewable energy sources lean on batteries. When they're producing in the sunny and windy days, they siphon off some their energy to storage so it can pick up the slack during drier spells.

But it's a real challenge to make this work on a large scale. To quote the Union of Concerned Scientists, "energy storage is expensive." Tesla signed a $50 million deal to create a storage battery in Australia, for example. Not every region that needs better energy storage will have that dough.

Energy Vault, headquartered in Switzerland with operations in California, offers an intriguing idea: a 33-story-high, six-armed crane covered with 5,000 concrete blocks. Software sends these bricks into controlled drops, which can be used to store energy from an outside source or send it back into the grid.

The company claims 90 percent round trip efficiency on energy capture, an eye-popping number which has drawn some skepticism in the industry.

But how better to answer skepticism than trying the system out? Last year the company scored its first client, the Indian power company Tata. A Green New Deal could provide the resources to explore the concept further.

The Green New Deal Desperately Needs These 5 Innovations If It's Going To Work

The Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey is ambitious, which it must be if it's going to combat climate change. But reaching those goals would require some serious innovation.

From Popular Mechanics