A wind pioneer is sceptical about batteries

The way the wind’s blowing

ONE of Ignacio Galán’s early jobs as an engineer was to design lead-acid batteries for the milk floats that used to trundle around Britain’s streets. So the 66-year-old Spaniard, who heads Iberdrola, one of the world’s largest utilities, claims he has been thinking about the storage of electricity for his whole career. That is useful, because for the second time since he took over Iberdrola in 2001, the industry faces a fork in the road. This time round, the big debate in energy is about batteries and storage.

The first time, Mr Galán blazed the right trail. He made a prescient bet on renewable energy, turning Iberdrola into one of the world’s biggest providers of onshore wind while at the same time underpinning returns with relatively safe, regulated electricity networks in America (Avangrid) and Britain (ScottishPower). Some European peers, such as Germany’s E.ON and RWE, took the opposite approach, prioritising…Continue reading

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