First in a series.
Julie Blunden is a former solar executive who now focuses her analytical ability on energy storage. When she sits down with an iced tea to run the numbers, they fill her with a sense of urgency.
She sees a market that is strapping on its boots for a steep and inexorable climb. Blunden and a growing number of experts believe that energy storage will be worth tens of billions of dollars in revenue within a decade, regardless of what the Trump administration does to harm or help. Batteries will start showing up everywhere, sending shock waves through the auto industry, the electric grid, the petroleum industry and the broader power sector, adding tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs to the economy.
The question that Blunden keeps asking herself is whether that money and those jobs will go to Michigan and North Carolina, or flee to Shanghai or Seoul, South Korea.
The problem, Blunden said, is that the United States is wandering into a global competition without much urgency or a plan. “Are we going to make the decision to take a significant share of the next…