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LDES Council Announcement Encouraging for Grid Decarbonization

Daniel Collins
Nov 23, 2021

GHI Blog

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference's Energy Day on November 5 brought together governments, businesses, and investors to deliberate the clean energy transition in the drive to reach net-zero emissions. On this day, the Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES) Council—a CEO-led organization representing a broad range of energy storage technologies—was announced. Among its 25 founding members, the council counts BP, Breakthrough Energy (Bill Gates' impact investment group), major equipment manufacturers, renewable energy developers, and industrial end user companies. The mission is to publish fact-based guidance to governments, grid operators, and major electricity users to encourage the wide adoption of LDES and accelerate carbon neutrality.

Energy Storage Is Pivotal in Grid Decarbonization

Led by wind power and solar PV, 2020 witnessed an addition of more than 256 GW of renewable energy capacity—elevating its share in the global energy mix to 29%. International Energy Agency projections anticipate record development and deployment of renewable energy technologies over the coming years. The outlook is encouraging but continued technology deployment has exposed the lack of suitable storage solutions. The ability to store electricity for use at a later time is critical to ensuring high levels of renewable energy on the grid. LDES will help power our grids with clean energy without sacrificing reliability and stability.

Current Storage Solutions Don’t Meet the Brief

Lithium ion (Li-ion) is the incumbent storage technology—omnipresent in portable electronic devices and the technology of choice for most EV manufacturers. Despite deep market penetration and notable advantages at shorter durations, Li-ion batteries have a relatively high marginal energy cost, making them less competitive at longer durations. Moreover, the environmental and social impacts of overreliance on lithium technology are driving the search for a more sustainable solution. Defined as storage greater than 4 hours, LDES can help increase grid flexibility by integrating more solar, wind, and distributed energy resources. It can also improve grid efficiency by increasing existing resource capacity and suppressing demand for new fossil-intensive peak power plants. 

The LDES Council aims to enable the deployment of between 85 TWh and 140 TWh of LDES worldwide by 2040, eliminating 1.5 Gt to 2.3 Gt of carbon dioxide emissions in the process. Such a deployment would necessitate an anticipated investment of $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion. The organization will publish the first edition of an annual report outlining the need for LDES in the drive to net-zero emissions on November 23, 2021. 

Guidehouse Insights' report, Utility-Scale Long Duration Energy Storage, explores drivers for LDES and the technologies being implemented to provide long duration storage services.