Economics Stack up for Microgrids with Long Duration Energy Storage
Long duration energy storage offers “value-add economics” for microgrids and renewables integrations, according to a recent report from Lux Research.
The research and advisory services firm modeled the cost of deploying different technologies for long duration energy storage for five key services: peaker plant replacement, renewables integration, microgrid energy storage systems, renewable energy backup, and seasonal energy storage. The resulting map shows the lowest-cost energy storage technology for each use case.
“Looking at the long duration market in general, we’re starting to see a shift from shorter power based applications which operate on the half hour to hour time frame, towards solutions that offer discharge durations greater than four hours,” Tim Grejtak, energy storage analyst at Lux Research and author of the report, told Microgrid Knowledge
Driven by renewables
The increasing deployment of renewable energy is fueling the demand for energy storage.
“Greater renewable penetration on the grid means longer duration storage is necessary to start to combat some of the issues that are caused by non-dispatchable generation assets,” explained Grejtak.
The interest in flow batteries is rising for longer durations and larger system sizes. These batteries store energy in liquid, typically vanadium ions, rather than solid chemicals like lead or lithium ions. They scale up more easily than solid chemical batteries, facilitating lower costs for large electrical systems like wind farms.
Long duration energy storage for rural microgrids
In countries like Indonesia, Madagascar and the Philippines, there is a drive to provide electricity to customers who have never had access to it. A quick and cheap way to achieve this is with solar microgrids that use long duration energy storage.
The Lux Research team recommends focusing on the lifetime costs for long duration energy storage, rather than only the upfront capital cost. The lifetime costs include efficiency, replacement, and operation and maintenance. Modeling the costs for a solar plus long duration energy storage microgrid, with zinc-air batteries, result in electricity costs below those from diesel generation.