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In this 18 minute episode, Marty Stetzer (EKT Interactive in Houston) talks with Diane Cherry. Prior to starting her own consulting firm, Diane worked for more than 20 years at senior levels in the energy and environmental fields.
We met virtually through the Energy and Utilities Network. In January 2023, she posted a blog describing new technology developments for long-duration energy storage.
Our Energy Storage Management digital training module was built in 2020. Diane’s conversation will help our listeners get an update on this important topic.
About the Expert
Diane Cherry is the Principal of Diane Cherry Consulting, a woman-owned small business providing environmental and energy consulting services primarily in the Southeastern United States.
Her firm provides services in business development, policy and regulatory analysis, and communications.
She has extensive experience in public policy and communications around energy markets, technology, education, and finance. She regularly speaks at renewable energy conferences in the Southeast and nationally.
Prior to starting her own consulting firm, Diane worked for more than 20 years in the energy and environmental fields.
Diane holds a Master’s Degree in Energy Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Virginia.
Marty Stetzer – President of EKT Interactive
President of EKTinteractive in Houston; and producer of our mobile-ready energy series describing “How the industry works.”
It covers Power, Renewables and Oil & Gas.
In parallel with a 25-year energy career, Marty spent 15 years providing custom “blended and e-learning” training programs to a variety of technical audiences.
He has global upstream and downstream operations management experience with Schlumberger, Superior Oil-Mobil and Exxon, and was a director in the energy consulting practice at PwC.
Marty has his Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering Institute and a MBA from Carnegie Mellon.
Referenced LDES Companies:
Marty: Hi everyone and welcome to Drill Down – our podcast channel that now brings you insights on the clean energy transition.
I’m Marty Stetzer President of EKTinteractive, in Houston, and I will be your host today. And I’ll be speaking with DianeCherry in Raleigh, North Carolina.
She has extensive experience in policy and communications on environmental issues, energy markets, clean energy technology, and renewable energy finance throughout the US.
Diane and I met virtually through the Energy and Utilities Network. In January she posted a blog describing new technology developments for long-duration energy storage.
We built a digital training module on Energy Storage Management in 2020. I thought it would be valuable for our listeners to get an update on this important topic.
Diane, thanks so much for taking the time today.
Thanks Marty – good to be here…
Diane, as a policy and clean energy veteran, can you tell us about your consulting firm, give our listeners your (brief) resume and tell us what got you interested in this specific topic?
I have worked in the energy and environmental policy space for more than 25 years as a regulator, at the state, and as an advocate. I have had my own clean energy consulting firm the past five years – I work at theintersection of policy and regulation, communications and business development. My clients run the gamut of clean energy developers, advocates, renewable energy finance providers, city government, and higher education.
Thanks Diane.. let’s get started.
When we put our module together in 2020, the primary battery design for storage to support intermittent wind and solar only had a maximum four hours of duration. What is the business case for longer-duration options?
Long duration energy storage – defined by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a system that can store energyfor more than 10 hours — is the lynchpin for solving the intermittency issues with renewable energy production. Whileshorter-duration energy storage (usually 1- 4 hours) can support some renewable energy generation intermittency, as more and more renewables are added to the grid, long duration energy storage is needed to store energy to be dispatched duringlong stretches when solar or wind are not producing.
A primary goal of long duration energy storage is to ensure that renewable energy can be stored when it is generated and deployed to meet sustained energy demand later. In this way, it supports the increased penetration of clean energy technologies; it also gives grid operators added flexibility to balance supply and demand, enables grid resilience, and enables costly transmission and distribution infrastructure upgrades to be deferred.
The trick remains storing energy at scale.
In 2020, Pumped Storage Hydro was the prevalent long-duration storage option which could provide 10 or more hours of backup. What is prompting the need for more options?
Just to be clear, pumped hydro storage is the only LDES technology deployed on a large scale and will continue to dominate the market until 2030.
Development of a long duration energy storage market has received federal government support through ARPA-E, the research and investment arm of the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE also launched the Long Duration Storage Shot in July 2021 to reduce long duration energy storage costs by 90 percent (for systems that deliver energy ten or more hours) by 2030. Long duration energy storage will help the U.S. achieve a net-zero carbon grid – a target the Biden administration has set for 2050 – by dispatching low carbon power when needed and accelerating the retirement of gas peaker plants.
At the state level, California approved $126 million in incentives to demonstrate new long-duration storage technologies. New York State awarded US $16.6 million to five long-duration energy storage projects.
Thanks Diane , Sure is a lot of money being spent!
Can you tell our listeners what the promising LDES options are being considered?
Long duration energy technologies can be divided into electrochemical energy storage, thermal energy storage, flow batteries, and mechanical energy storage. And right now there are different commercial scale foreach of these categories. I’ll just hit a couple of them.
Electrochemical LDES: Companies in this space are trying to find the sweet spot of lithium-ion batteries for long-duration energy storage. Earlier this year, an eight-hour duration lithium-ion battery project became the first long-duration energy storage resource selected by a group of non-profit energy suppliers in California.
Flow Batteries: Flow batteries are a subcategory of electrochemical energy storage that operate on the idea ofincorporating liquid electrolyte to function as a source of direct current electricity that runs through an inverter forconversion to alternating current power. Flow battery performance does not degrade, which is why there are fewerlimitations on use cases. While this continual performance stands out compared to lithium-ion batteries, which exhibit greater performance degradation if they are cycled multiple times per day or used for different applications, the only current commercial flow batteries are based on vanadium and zinc.
A two part question [A] what programs around the world and in the US are relevant, and is the US ahead of, or behind, other countries in long duration storage development? [B] Can you cite specific projects that are under way around the world?
Couple of things that are making the U.S. a key place for long duration energy storage right now. First theInflation Reduction Act allows energy project developers to benefit from a broad, bankable, and stable tax incentive scheme – e.g. extending these credits out by 10 years to bring long-term certainty; making these credits technology agnostic and including storage.
The long duration energy storage ecosystem has been in labs and research institutes, and they are still at a very earlystage. While the national labs are integral to the U.S. scientific expertise – true for energy storage – we lag behind China, South Korea, Japan in research funding.
On the whole, the sector has struggled to go from promising ideas to promising businesses and funding has been a keyreason. Technology developers will struggle to scale cost-effectively before 2030.
Clear geographical disparities exist in the development of the LDES market.
- For the Asia Pacific region, the deployment of vanadium redox flow batteries and compressed air energy storage has accelerated rapidly in China, which has been largely driven by strong policy supp The world’s largest redox flow battery energy storage system, 100 megawatts (MW)/400 megawatt hours (MWh),connected to the grid in Dalian, China.
- Most European countries have been less enthusiastic. The UK Government has been an exemption, as it explores the role long duration energy technologies have to offer, while actively seeking to support industry players.”
Turning now to the US…
- One of the biggest LDES electrochemical hopes is Form Energy, an alternative battery player. The company has raised more than $800 million for an iron-air battery that it says can store 100 hours of energy at system costs that are competitive with conventional power plants. Form’s first battery manufacturing facility is set forWeirton, West Virginia, with finished batteries expected in 2024. Another is…
- Xcel Energy– Minnesota that will deploy a 10 MW/1,000 MWh multi-day storage
system at the Sherburne County Generating Station in Becker, Minnesota. Xcel
Energy–Colorado will deploy a 10 MW/1,000 MWh multi-day storage system at the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo, Colorado. Both projects are expected to come online as early as 2025 and are subject toregulatory approvals in their respective states. Finally…
- Technology company Third Derivative has backed half a dozen flow battery startups, including new generations of flow chemistry that use organic compounds and alternative materials to vanadium.
Diane, with all this happening…where do you see storage developments going in the future?
While there is no clear LDES favorite yet, the winner will ultimately target different value propositions that puts it in a different league than li-ion. Because li-ion has such a strong hold on the energy storage market, a leadingLDES technology must demonstrate more than just a marginal benefit over li-ion. By targeting a niche application,LDES technology providers will more easily be able to demonstrate its distinct value to the market.
Are there any industry leaders in the LDES field that our listeners should start to follow?
- Form Energy is one in the US that I’ve already discussed.
- Highview Power Storage (UK) Liquid-air energy storage solution that can deliver enough electricity to power over 200,000 homes for 12 hours in two weeks.
- Energy Dome (Italy) Energy Dome is an Italian startup that has developed a new technology for large-scale and long-duration energy storage. Their patented technology is based on a thermodynamic process that uses CO2 to preserve electricity at a low cost and with unparalleled round-trip efficiency.
- Antora Energy- US The startup utilizes zero-carbon heat and electricity to electrify heavy industry. Antora Energy has developed low-cost, long-term energy storage by storing heat energy in extremely cheap raw materials.
Diane, thanks so much for your insights! They will sure be valuable to your audience and our own community of 8,500 EKT interactive followers.
Are there other resources available on this topic that you can recommend to our listeners?
Diane: Sure. At our website, dianecherryconsulting.com, has three blogs that describe the different categories of long duration energy storage and the use case for each category. So, I recommend everyone visit our website. Also, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to answer any question.
Marty: Thanks to everyone for listening… Our company name EKT interactive stands for energy knowledge, transfer digitally capturing the extensive knowledge of clean energy industry experts, like Diane.
If you are a professional that is new to the oil, gas, power or renewables industry, and want to quickly learn “How that industry works” check out our digital on-demand training series at www.ektinteractive.com.
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