Of the eight sectors of restorative development documented in The Restoration Economy back in 2002, infrastructure renewal is by far the largest in terms of funding.
In many ways, it’s also the most crucial to building community resilience. It does this in at least two ways: 1) by restoring the global climate via carbon-negative (or at least carbon-neutral) technologies, thus reducing threats to communities, and 2) by redesigning infrastructure so as to be less vulnerable to disruption.
Nowhere are those two agendas more obviously integrated than in the renovation of our energy grid. Locally-produced (and ideally community-owned) clean energy facilities—connected to micro-grids with negative metering capabilities—are the ideal. Storage of that energy for reliable 24-7 delivery has been the major technical challenge.
Now, on December 18, 2019, both agendas were advanced when Highview Power Storage, Inc. a pioneer of long-duration energy storage solutions, and Encore Renewable Energy, a developer of renewable energy generation and storage projects—featured several times here in REVITALIZATION for their brightfields work, which turns closed landfills into solar energy farms—jointly announced plans to develop the first long-duration, liquid air energy storage system in the U.S.
The facility will be a minimum of 50MW, provide in excess of eight hours of storage (400MWh) and will be located in northern Vermont.
The project is the first of many utility-scale, liquid air energy storage projects that Highview Power plans to develop across the United States to help scale up renewable energy deployment. The Vermont facility will contribute to resolving the longstanding energy transmission challenges surrounding the state’s Sheffield-Highgate Export Interface (SHEI) and enable the efficient transport of excess power from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power to help integrate them on the power grid.
In addition to supplying clean, reliable, and cost-efficient energy storage, the facility to be developed by Highview Power and Encore will provide valuable services to the area’s transmission system to help integrate renewable energy, stabilize the regional electrical grid, and ensure future energy security during storms and other disruptions.
This includes the ability to store energy for weeks at the lowest levelized cost of long duration storage in the industry, and providing what is called “grid-synchronous inertia,” which balances electrical demand and supply and helps avoid blackouts.
Other services the facility can deliver include market arbitrage, frequency management, reserve, and grid constraint management services. Highview Power and Encore are in discussions with potential utility and transmission grid operator customers regarding the capabilities and services the facility can provide.
Salvatore Minopoli, vice president of Highview Power USA, said the company has strategically sought partners in the U.S. that are renewable energy market leaders with experience in developing large-scale projects.
“With their expertise in community-scale solar PV systems, traditional battery storage applications and solutions for the redevelopment of under-utilized properties, Encore Renewable Energy is a perfect partner for us as we continue expanding our technology in the United States,” Minopoli said.
“We are excited to deploy our first long duration energy storage system in the United States. It is wonderful to partner with a company that shares our vision for a healthier environment and a sustainable economy,” commented Javier Cavada, CEO of Highview Power.
With Highview Power’s liquid air energy storage solution, excess or off-peak electricity is used to clean and compress air which is then stored in liquid form in insulated tanks at temperatures approaching 320 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-196 C). When electricity is in high demand and more valuable, the pressurized gas is allowed to warm, turning a turbine as it expands and thus generating energy that can be used at peak times when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.
Highview Power’s proprietary liquid air energy storage system, called CRYOBattery™, relies on low-risk, proven technology, generates zero emissions, has zero water impact and can be delivered at a cost of approximately half of the current cost of traditional lithium-ion batteries. At utility-scale, Highview Power’s long duration energy storage systems paired with renewables are equivalent in performance to fossil fuel powered thermal and nuclear baseload power.
“Highview Power’s patented technology offers a unique, cost effective solution for unleashing a greater amount of cost-efficient renewable energy generation in transmission constrained areas,” said Chad Farrell, Founder and CEO of Encore Renewable Energy.
“It will also allow for fewer curtailments and provide important energy balancing services for the rapidly evolving modern grid; all of which are extremely important as we look to build the infrastructure required to support a robust clean energy economy,” he added.
The U.S. energy storage market is expected to surge over 700% to nearly $5.4 billion by 2024, driven mostly by utility-scale projects, according to analyst firm Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.