If solar and wind power are to play a major role in our nation's energy future, we must figure out how to store the electricity from these clean-but-on-again-off-again sources from the time it's produced until the time of peak demand. The key is better batteries. Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory are working hard on that. Now they have a top-flight battery expert to lead them.

That's Esther Takeuchi, not only an expert but a lifesaver. Her work made possible the battery that powers implantable cardiac defibrillators and earned her White House recognition in 2009. She's a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Academy of Engineering.

Now she'll have a joint appointment at Stony Brook and the lab: a tenured faculty member in materials science and chemistry at Stony Brook and chief scientist at BNL's Global and Regional Solutions Directorate. Her impending arrival from the University at Buffalo is also vital to the application that Stony Brook and the lab submitted to the Department of Energy to bring an energy innovation hub here. The Batteries and Energy Storage Hub would be at Stony Brook's Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center. The grant would bring in $25 million a year for five years.

So Takeuchi's presence on Long Island is a huge leap for the two institutions -- and for the region's economy and the nation's search for a more reliable, cleaner energy future.

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