Long duration energy storage: the key to a clean energy future

Long duration energy storage: the key to a clean energy future blog promo image

Across the globe, we are on a path towards net zero, spearheaded by the mass deployment of renewable energy. Energy accounts for more than three-quarters of total greenhouse gas emissions, so we need innovative technologies, like tandem solar cells, and critically – energy storage – to accelerate decarbonisation.

Energy storage is vital, and we have already seen lithium ion batteries deployed around the world to provide short-term support to our energy systems. However, as the amount of intermittent wind and solar power increases, we need long duration energy storage (LDES) to enable that power to be used 24/7, 365, and rid the world of fossil fuels for good.

How LDES technologies can help us to reach our climate goals

According to the UK Government, LDES ‘is a key enabler to a secure, cost-effective and low carbon energy system’. 

LDES can be grouped into four families; electrochemical, thermal, mechanical, and chemical, which are designed to store and release energy over extended periods, ranging from hours to days and in some cases, seasons.

This technology is vital. Without LDES, our renewable energy future will be only a dream and our renewable energy targets will not be possible.

LDES technologies can address challenges with seasonal variations, prevent curtailment, manage the intermittency of renewable generation and ensure grid stability during extended periods of low renewable output.

It is a sector that is on the cusp of vast growth and recent estimates highlight it as a $4 trillion market opportunity.

Over the last decade, there has been significant progress in the development and deployment of LDES technologies, with Microsoft and Google among those investing in the innovation, but we need urgent action to help the industry scale to meet our decarbonisation challenge.

Enabling the deployment of LDES at pace and scale

Energy markets around the world are set up to reward the dominant energy storage technology – lithium ion – rather than to enable the technologies that can drive the biggest impact.

To reap the rewards of LDES, the storage market needs a more supportive policy framework that encourages investment, innovation, and integration. These include:

  1. Increased market incentives to reduce or remove some of the upfront costs of LDES technologies to make them more economically attractive to investors and project developers.
  2. Regulatory support to ensure we can develop and implement standards that facilitate the seamless integration of LDES into existing power grids.
  3. Measures to reform issues with grid connections and planning bottlenecks to ensure infrastructure networks can accommodate increased renewable energy.
  4. Greater focus on grid planning and modernisation to encourage utilities and grid operators to consider LDES as a key component in their integrated resource planning.
  5. Market mechanisms, specifically ancillary services, that recognise and compensate LDES for providing services such as frequency regulation and grid stabilisation.

We need greater awareness and education on long duration energy storage

Climate change poses a real threat to people and planet, and we need to celebrate and champion the companies developing innovative solutions helping us to decarbonise.

By fostering public awareness of the vital need for LDES technologies, through education and awareness building, we can highlight the role of storage in supporting the journey to net zero. Communications is a powerful tool in doing so. Spotlighting energy leaders, sharing expert thought-leadership and bolstering industry knowledge can only do good, and we must do more.

Planning for a future based on renewables must start now

The past decade has seen huge growth in the deployment of renewable energy, and this demand, coupled with advancements in materials, manufacturing, and energy system integration, has spurred innovation in LDES technologies.

At Greenhouse, we are working with clients leading the development of these technologies, such as Invinity Energy Systems, and those bringing the innovators together, like the LDES Council.

Is your technology is playing a vital role in achieving a reliable and resilient power grid? Want support in communicating your story? Get in touch with us here.

Want to learn more about our involvement in energy and clean tech? Check out our case studies.

Interested in talking more about long duration energy storage? Get in touch with us.