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LDES Council Report Details Global Requirement for Long Duration Energy Storage to Reach Net Zero by 2040

23rd Nov 2021

The Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES) Council, of which Corre Energy are a member of, are a global CEO-led organisation formed to accelerate worldwide decarbonisation. The council today (Tuesday 23rdNovember), released its inaugural report on how the world’s power systems could become carbon net-zero through the storage of renewable power such as wind and solar. The Council’s report, produced in collaboration with McKinsey & Company as the Council’s knowledge partner, details the application of LDES technologies, the flexibility requirements needed in high-renewables future power grids, and analysis of the investment required.

The LDES Council is a new organisation and was announced during COP26 in Glasgow. The Council unites energy companies, technology providers, investors, and energy-users in a CEO-led initiative to cut carbon emissions through the deployment of long duration energy storage.

The report follows extensive collaboration between the 24 founding Council members and is based on advanced power systems modelling using more than 10,000 real datapoints supplied by its technology providers.

Some key findings from the report include that 85-140 TWh of long duration energy storage (>8 hours) can be deployed globally to enable power grids to become carbon net-zero. This will eliminate between 1.5 to 2.3 Gt of CO2 currently produced annually through allowing grid energy imbalances to be met by renewable sources as opposed to fossil fuels, equivalent to 10-15% of total emissions in today’s power sector. The report also sets out timeline scenarios for LDES deployment over the next decades that coincide with recent pledges to deliver net-zero nationally, including the commitment by the UK for a net-zero power system by 2035, and similar commitments by the US, Australia and India with later timescales.

The report also indicates increasing momentum behind LDES deployments with around $3 billion invested in LDES technology companies in the last five years, and an expected 25-35 GW /1TWh of capacity to be deployed globally by 2025 with approximately $50 billion investment. The modelling focused on identifying the lowest cost way to transition to net-zero power systems, with LDES playing a key role alongside Li-ion and H2 turbines. It concludes that achieving net-zero power grids by 2040 requires a global deployment of 1.5-2.5 TW and 85-140 TWh of LDES; accounting for 10% of electricity consumed worldwide and requiring an estimated investment of $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion. This represents between four and seven times the total TWh global lithium-ion battery storage deployment today and between five and eleven times the total investment in renewable power in 2020.

Included in the report is a characterisation of various types of LDES technologies and how these enable energy to be stored at times when renewable power supply exceeds demand and released at a later time, along with an analysis of how these solutions contribute to a net-zero grid. A view on technology cost reductions, 60% capex reduction in 2025-40, is presented in the report as well as example business cases that show typical sources of value and project returns. Specifically outlined is the need for long-term system planning to attract adequate private upfront investment to support LDES deployment and research and development, and that market designs could be enacted to fully recognise the full value LDES provides to ensure financial returns on the assets. Additionally, the report acknowledges that some LDES technologies are in their early stages of deployment and will required targeted investment to achieve the lower cost and scale required to lower societal CO2 emissions.