One of the biggest challenges with using renewable energy for electricity generation—specifically wind and solar power—is intermittency. The wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. Affordable, reliable, and deployable storage is seen as the holy grail of renewable energy integration, and recent advances in storage technology are getting closer to finding it.

The current electricity grid has virtually no storage—pumped hydropower is the most prevalent, but is largely location dependent. As higher levels of solar and wind energy are added to the grid, however, storage will become increasingly fundamental to ensuring that the power supply remains stable and demand is met. Utilities and businesses around the globe are starting to use large-scale batteries to complement their renewable energy generation: in Texas, for example, Duke Energy installed a 36 megawatt lead-acid storage system to balance its wind power.

Storage system ratings

Credit: Energy Storage Association

Storage technologies not only provide utilities with grid reliability for renewable integration, but also offer additional benefits such as ancillary services, ramp rate control, frequency regulation, and peak shaving, which can lower costs and improve the performance of the transmission system. Power system operators have always had to match electricity demand with supply, and energy storage is an additional tool in their grid-management toolbox.

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batteries, CAES, compressed air energy storage, electricity, electricity grid, intermittency, lithium-ion batteries, pumped-hydro storage, renewable energy, solar power, Storage, wind power
CCS Cost Development

CCS Cost Development

As of mid-April, nine pilot carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) power plant projects were in operation in China, Europe, and the United States. These projects are delivering important insights regarding the prospects for large-scale commercial application of carbon capture in coal and natural gas power plants. No large-scale CCS power plant is in operation yet, but the industry is working hard to push forward with 45 projects in various stages of development.

Although it remains unclear when the first commercial CCS power plant project will start operation, new findings reveal greater certainty about another aspect of CCS development: cost. Several studies in the last few years suggest that CCS in coal and natural gas power plants is far more expensive than was anticipated even just six years ago.

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Capture, Carbon, CCS, coal, Combustion, Cost, IEA, IEAGHG, natural gas, Price, Sequestration, Storage