Long-Duration Energy Storage is a Must-Have for Grid Stability

Without long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies, energy-supply gaps and frequent outages will plague our path to a clean-energy future.

The transition to wind- and solar-generated power must include new technologies to effectively store energy when demand is low and efficiently distribute it when demand is high.

Peak Load Supply and Demand graphs – image courtesy of LDES Council

There are also geographic requirements: Offshore wind farms, for instance, do little good for the nation’s landlocked heartland without a modern distribution system.

Fortunately, exciting new sciences and enormous government investments are supercharging the LDES realm.

With an eye on grid resilience, the Biden Administration announced in September a $325 million investment in nationwide energy-storage projects. Closer to home, Albany has awarded $15 million to four groundbreaking companies with LDES ambitions – including $12 million for Massachusetts-based Form Energy, which is deploying New York State’s first iron-air battery system, a 10 megawatt/1,000 megawatt-hour project capable of “multi-day energy storage.”

The New York State Research and Development Authority has introduced an $8.15 million program supporting New York City-sited efforts to design, develop and field-test pre-commercialization hydrogen, electric, chemical, mechanical and thermal-electric storage technologies.

And several smaller awards will support next-gen energy-storage projects across the state, with prototype electrolyzer units and cutting-edge battery-based energy-storage systems in the mix.

These diverse solutions and large investments could not be timelier, with 16 U.S. states and territories mandating the development of 100 percent net-zero energy and six other states setting nonbinding clean-energy goals – plus the ambitious federal goal that all U.S. electric generation come from clean energy sources by 2035.

Understanding that all the zero-carbon energy technologies in the world won’t matter without significant LDES advances, the Clean Energy Business Innovation Portal is knee-deep in these efforts, with inventive companies and new business-incubator programs determined to bring these critical technologies to fruition. Read on!

Fun Facts

  1. Energy storage with durations over four hours could play a crucial role in integrating renewable energy into the U.S. power grid, but such storage accounts for less than 10% of deployments since 2010.
  2. In the United States alone, LDES could reduce the overall cost of achieving a fully decarbonized power system by around $35 billion annually by 2040. – McKinsey & Company
  3. The International Energy Association (IEA) estimates that, in order to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, the world needs 266 GW of storage by 2030. – EESI
  4. Energy storage installations around the world will reach a cumulative 358 gigawatts/1,028 gigawatt-hours by the end of 2030. – Bloomberg
  5. Flow batteries can currently hold 4-12 hours of charge. – MIT Technology Review