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A small startup based in Emeryville, California, will build a pilot-scale energy storage system that could provide a cheaper, more practical way of storing large amounts of electricity and help enable the power grid accommodate large amounts of renewable energy.

Halotechnics has announced a deal with a partner to construct a one-megawatt plant that will store energy in molten salts—a technique previously used to store energy at some large solar thermal plants. The company says it will cost half as much as battery storage, and could compete with the cheapest way of storing large amounts of electricity—pumping water up a hill and using it to drive a turbine as gravity brings it back down.

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