Two new compressed air energy storage facilities will appear in California, USA. Each of them claims to be the world’s largest non-hydropower energy storage system. The units, designed by Hydrostor, with a capacity of 500 MW each, will store 4 GWh of energy.
As the world moves to renewable energy sources, grid-wide storage is becoming increasingly important. Achieving zero carbon emissions will require coordinated technologies. And there is a problem here.
For example, pumped storage plants account for about 95% of the world’s energy reserves in the grid, and gigawatt power plants have been in operation since the 1980s. The problem is that using these resources requires a specific type of site and a huge amount of concrete for the construction of a pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant. Rotting vegetation stuck in dams also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, the largest megabatteries built so far only have a capacity of 200 MW/MWh.
A compressed air energy storage device (CAES) can store energy on a grid-wide basis. At the same time, it is considered reliable, like a hydraulic accumulator, but without restrictions in construction.
In 2017, the Canadian company Hydrostor developed a new compressed air energy storage system. It’s cheaper than using lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.
Hydrostor today announced the development of a 1,000 MW long-term energy storage facility in California. All projects will use Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) technology, which provides energy storage from 8 to 12 hours.
The A-CAES system uses the surplus energy generated in power plants to compress air, which is then stored in a container underground. The heat generated by this compression also accumulates.
According to Quartz, the cost of one kilowatt-hour of storage from Hydrostor will be about the same as that of gas stations or batteries. But as capacity increases, they scale much cheaper.
The first plant is slated to be built in Rosamond, California. If all goes according to plan, it will launch in 2026. The second plant will be located in California, but the exact location has not yet been announced.