Huge global deployment of long-term energy storage could enable a ‘net zero’ power grid by 2040, a new business-led organisation has announced.
Launched today (4 November) at Cop26, the Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES) Council announced its ‘mission’ to replace fossil fuel use with zero-carbon alternatives.
The group will provide guidance to governments and grid operators, and will publish a strategic report on LDES technologies, with the aim of enabling global deployment of 85-140 TWh of LDES by 2040. “This would see dispatchable renewable energy used to eliminate the 1.5-2.3 gigatonnes of CO2 produced annually from fossil fuels to meet grid energy imbalances, equivalent to 10-15% of total emissions in today’s power sector,” an announcement said.
The council is a ‘CEO-led’ organisation, established by 24 founder members including Alfa Laval, BP, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, ESS Inc., Form Energy, Highview Power and Siemens Energy. It includes technology and equipment providers, renewable energy companies, utilities, grid operators, investors and customers.
Misalignment between renewable energy generation and consumption creates shortfalls in electricity supply, which is largely met by burning fossil fuels, especially natural gas. Lithium-ion batteries offer an alternate solution, but become too expensive for storage durations beyond eight hours. The LDES Council aims to support the most cost-effective adoption of energy storage.
Storage methods represented by council members include mechanical technologies, such as pumped hydro, electrochemical, such as flow batteries, chemical, such as synthetic gases, and thermal, such as molten salt.
An upcoming council report will conclude that 1.5-2.5 TW and 85-140 TWh LDES could be deployed globally by 2040. This would cover about 10% of global electricity consumed, requiring between $1.5-3tn in investment. Only about 7% of the required storage capacity exists today.
“The world is not on track to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C,” said Ramya Swaminathan, CEO of founder member Malta Inc. “To achieve the necessary decarbonisation, significant efforts must begin immediately to reduce emissions across all sectors. The power sector, which accounts for roughly one-third of global emissions, will be central to global decarbonisation and will need to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. Long duration energy storage is the lynchpin to decarbonisation as it can inexpensively store the electricity from wind, solar and other renewables and make it available when needed.”
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