- Energy Storage
- Climate Change
- California Utilities
The Utility Market Is Ready for Nascent Long-Duration Storage Technologies
In October 2020, eight community-choice aggregators in California requested offers for 500 MW of long-duration storage capacity. This is the first step toward California’s goal to have 1 GW of long-duration storage by 2026, which is meant to complement the ample solar and wind power resources that the state historically has been forced to curtail. Although the storage market (excluding pumped hydro) is led by lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries, they can typically only deliver up to 4 hours of storage. Much of the US relies on natural gas peaker plants to fill longer capacity gaps lasting 6-12 hours or more; however, these power plants are costly and emit harmful nitrous oxides when forced to ramp-up quickly. For more information, see the Guidehouse Insights blog on the disproportionate cost and health effects of peaker plants on low income communities.
Established Long-Duration Storage Technologies
Cheap long-duration storage will play a major role as intermittent renewables continue to flood the grid and natural gas peaker plants are forced to retire to comply with climate goals and environmental justice initiatives. While pumped hydro is the only cheap long-duration storage option operating at scale, these projects have extremely high upfront costs, are difficult to receive permits for and take an ecological toll on the environment.