The Sacramento Municipal Utility District has taken a decisive step towards ending its carbon emissions by 2030, signing a contract for flow battery storage to close the gap between daytime solar production and post-sunset electricity demand. The city-owned power company has contracted with iron flow battery company ESS for 200 megawatts/​2 gigawatt-hours of its products, which store electricity in a liquid electrolyte containing dissolved iron, over the next few years. The agreement also contains novel workforce-development commitments that could make Sacramento a hub for ESS installations in California, which officially requires long-duration storage purchases to keep the lights on as fossil gas plants shut down and the grid needs other sources of on-demand power. Flow batteries, after decades of research in alternatives to conventional lithium-ion batteries, are winning favor due to global upheavals in the battery supply chain and US domestic policy changes.

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