The fossil fuel industry’s harmful effects on the environment no longer hide in the shadows. Despite calls from climate advocates to reduce carbon emissions and transition to renewables, the oil industry continues its efforts to delay action on combating climate change.
However, technological advancements — specifically energy storage — could signal the end of fossil fuels’ reign over the energy industry. Learn about energy storage’s role in the green revolution, and what types of facilities are emerging to support the transition to renewables.
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For decarbonized energy systems to be effective, long-duration energy storage techniques must be available. Variable renewable energy can be a boon for clean energy companies, but only if they have appropriate storage options.
According to McKinsey, the challenge of significant structural strains on today’s energy infrastructure can lead to energy instability, supply and demand imbalances, and changes to transmission flow patterns. It goes on to suggest that one potential solution to the industry’s challenge is the advent of long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies and facilities.
The LDES Council is a newly founded, global nonprofit run by CEOs of some of the leading energy technology providers, such as Electrified Thermal Solutions, Breeze, MGA Thermal, and Quidnet Energy. This council is working to decarbonize the energy industry by pushing the adoption and acceleration of LDES technologies.
A recent LDES Council report claims that thermal energy storage (TES) is critical to realizing a net-zero heat sector — an integral aspect of overall decarbonization.
The operating power of the buildings people reside in accounts for 40% of the nation’s carbon footprint. The coronavirus pandemic increased the time people spent indoors, causing stark increases in energy consumption. Now is the time to explore clean energy solutions, and LDES technology is no exception.
It’s clear that LDES and TES systems could accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. What storage facilities are emerging that might spark the decline of the global fossil fuel industry?
California Energy Storage
The state of California is home to two of the largest direct energy storage projects — Vistra Energy’s Moss Landing Power Plant and Crimson Energy Storage.
The mass deployment of large-scale battery facilities is a feasible solution to the issue of oversupplying energy when the sun shines or undersupplying it when it sets. Battery storage systems offer more benefits, such as absorbing surplus energy from wind and solar power during peak generation hours.
Consumers will likely turn to wind energy as fossil fuel prices become increasingly expensive. Energy professionals believe wind power prices will decrease compared to previous rates. By expanding wind farms and the renewable energy supply — including proper storage solutions — wind, solar, and thermal energy costs could drastically reduce and become more widely used.
Energy Storage in Germany
RWE — a power and utility generation firm in Germany — is building two co-located energy storage projects in North Rhine-Westphalia. The solar storage projects total 10.6MW and will be commissioned in 2023.
The first RWE location is a solar PV and battery storage system, which will be built directly under an existing operational wind farm. The first location is expected to total 19.4MWp of solar power and offer 6.5MW/13MWh of energy storage.
The second RWE location — called Jackerath — will offer 12.1MWp of solar PV power and 4.1MW/8.1MWh of battery storage. Jackerath will be built on the western edge of the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine near Bedburg.
Lithuania is giving California a run for its money as the country plans to build the world’s largest battery storage facility. As the country disconnects from Russia’s power grid, it will create a new facility by the end of 2023.
The Lithuanian government is investing $117.6 million (€100m) into the project, which will cover the costs to install four 50MW batteries and a minimum of 200MWh storage capacity. In addition to the project, the government plans to invest more in renewable energy.
Large-scale energy storage will likely influence the speed at which renewable energy becomes ubiquitous. There’s still some uncertainty about LDES energy storage technologies, market readiness, economics, and regulatory requirements, which could slow down widespread adoption.
Expect massive storage solutions to play an imperative role in helping countries push clean energy initiatives to combat climate change.