Report puts spotlight on critical role of long duration storage in race to net zero

The new report titled 'The Future of Long Duration Energy Storage' underlines the necessity of developing a diverse portfolio of storage solutions now to ensure a reliable, low-cost, and zero-carbon energy supply for Australia’s future.

Battery storage

At the Australian Large-Scale Solar and Storage Summit this week in Brisbane, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) released a report focusing on the critical role long duration storage technologies will play in Australia’s energy transition.

As the country shifts towards more renewable energy sources and retires coal-fired power plants, these technologies are vital for maintaining energy security and reliability. according to the CEC.

The report, titled The Future of Long Duration Energy Storage examines emerging 'alternative' long duration energy storage (ALDES) technologies. These include compressed air energy storage, thermal energy storage, and redox flow batteries.

The CEC posits these technologies as essential complements to lithium batteries and pumped hydro energy storage, which together are expected to replace fossil fuel generation.

Report findings

The transition from coal to renewable energy requires new methods to meet energy demand reliably. The report stresses that as each coal generator is phased out, the immediate need for robust energy storage solutions is vital for maintaining energy security and reliability. Combining energy storage with bulk renewables is presented as the fastest and most cost-effective way to maintain energy supply as coal generation decreases.

One of the key advantages of long duration energy storage is its ability to ensure the reliability of energy supply. By moving stored energy to periods of high demand, these technologies reduce the need for extensive new infrastructure, thereby lowering costs and keeping energy bills down for consumers.

The report argues that Australia must start building the infrastructure for a post-coal energy system now. This includes not only renewable generation but also the necessary transmission and long duration energy storage capabilities to ensure a smooth transition.

Nuclear power and gas generation are discussed but deemed unsuitable for Australia’s long-term energy needs.

The report also notes that ALDES technologies can support the energy system's security and reliability by providing bulk energy reserves, inertia, and system strength. These attributes are crucial as coal plants are decommissioned, ensuring that the energy system remains stable.

Moreover, long duration storage technologies, including ALDES and pumped hydro, can provide long-term energy firming contracts. These contracts are important for fostering competition in the retail market, which helps to keep energy prices affordable for consumers.

Download the Clean Energy Council report The Future of Long Duration Energy Storage

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