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Optimizing growing levels of renewable energy by increasing the deployment of different types of energy storage: MIT

By on May 27, 2022 0

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Diving brief:

  • According to an MIT report published on May 12, different energy storage technologies can make optimal use of increasing levels of intermittent renewable energy, with combined resources replacing fossil fuel generation systems by mid-century. .
  • The The future of energy storage by the MIT Energy Initiative, or MITEI, provides a model for supporting and using networked storage technologies – existing and emerging – to reduce emissions in an affordable way. The nearly 400-page study examines Northeast, Southeast and Texas, which reflect different demand portfolios and levels of wind and solar power.
  • The report also assesses the storage potential associated with renewable energy to replace coal power in India and other countries. As grid storage increases, “policies must be adjusted to avoid excessive and inequitable charges to consumers, to encourage electrification for economy-wide decarbonization, and to enable robust economic growth. , especially in emerging developing countries,” he said.

Overview of the dive:

The MIT study, developed over three years, analyzes strategies for capitalizing on various storage technologies – electrochemical, thermal, chemical and mechanical – that can capture variable flows of wind and solar energy to decarbonize the grid by 2050 .

Building a climate-friendly network in the United States requires changes in planning and operational tools to reflect the system transition needed to address climate change, the report said. It also calls for increasing fixed charges to make energy storage financially viable. Additionally, the report recommended modify the current federal government practice of awarding intellectual property rights to private sector partners who share the costs of technology demonstration projects. “Public investment in technology demonstration and early deployment activity is aimed at disseminating knowledge,” the report says.

In the past, the DOE has insisted that private sector partners share project costs in order to “stretch” federal dollars. Since private partners are usually granted intellectual property rights in return, this practice undermines the fundamental objective of publicly supported technology demonstration projects, which is to disseminate information among all participants in the project. industry, thereby creating the conditions for effective competition. Federal demonstration projects should include explicit requirements for sharing information with other US entities that have not been partners, even if this requires a larger federal contribution.

Excess solar and wind power generation can be stored and fed into the grid in times of high demand, “maintaining reliability in a cost-effective way – which in turn can support the electrification of many end-use activities beyond of the electricity sector”. MITEI Director Robert Armstrongprofessor of chemical engineering, said when the report was released.

Assuming costs continue to fall for wind and solar technologies, the study’s modeling “identifies cost-effective pathways to decarbonize electric systems – reducing emissions by 97% to 99% from 2005 levels in the United States.” United”, concludes the study. “Effective decarbonization will require substantial investments in multiple energy storage technologies, as well as transmission, clean generation and demand-side flexibility,” he adds.

“It is useful to see where and how energy storage technologies need to evolve and to understand the various trade-offs between energy or capacity costs, round-trip efficiency [and] duration, among other things”, Jin Nope, director of policy for the California Energy Storage Alliance, said of the report. He added that this could guide policies for the development and commercialization of various new energy storage technologies.

Today’s dominant grid storage is supplied by lithium-ion batteries, which typically have a maximum output of four hours, while storage providing many more hours of power duration is required to meet the different network demands, including weather and seasonal conditions. The Department of Energy is currently working on a research objective to help reduce the cost of 10 hours plus energy storage. He recently approved $505 million to advance multi-hour storage associated with renewables.

The MIT report calls for more support for longer durations, especially electrochemical storage technologies that use widely available earth materials, including those derived from secondary use batteries and recycling.

According to the report, additional government financial assistance for storage with at least 12 hours of production is needed because it is not backed by substantial private investment, such as lithium-ion batteries. Private financing of these low-cost, high-energy-density batteries in electric vehicles “has dramatically improved the prospects for short-lived power system storage,” the report points out.

Another challenge is that long-term storage will be of low value when wind and solar generation drops, the report says. Thus, due to the very different characteristics and values ​​of intermittent energy, MIT also calls for higher fixed loads to ensure cost-effective storage technologies.

“Our modeling shows that decarbonized systems in which wind and solar generation play a dominant role will have zero or low marginal energy costs for many hours,” unlike distributable generation using fossil fuels, Howard Grünspecht, senior energy economist at MIT, said. Since “future decarbonized systems are likely to have high capital costs and very low variable costs, fixed charges are expected to play a larger role in cost recovery than they currently do,” he said. he adds. This includes basing fees on the income level of consumers “to ensure fairness as well as efficiency”.