Highview yesterday revealed plans to develop a liquid air storage plant with a capacity of at least 50 MW in northern Vermont, with the proposed facility able to store eight hours of energy, for a 400 MWh storage capacity.
The press release published on Highview’s website did not specify the exact location of the plant but said it would help ease “longstanding energy transmission challenges” at the Sheffield-Highgate Export Interface of the electricity grid.
The London-based company did not give a timeline for completion of the project, or any estimated cost, but did reveal Vermont-based renewables and energy storage company Encore Renewable Energy would be its U.S. development partner.
“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,” said Salvatore Minopoli, vice president of Highview Power USA.
Liquid air storage charges by using excess electricity to power the cleaning and compression of air which is stored as a liquid at temperatures approaching -196 degrees Celsius. To discharge, the liquid air warms and becomes a pressurized gas which operates a turbine to generate electricity.
Highview, which in October announced plans for a similarly-sized system in the U.K., where it has tested the technology, claims its CRYOBattery costs around half as much as lithium-ion battery storage. At a Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit in London this year, Highview CEO Javier Cavada claimed the technology could store energy for weeks at a time at a cost of around £110/MWh ($144) in a 10-hour, 200 MW/2 GWh system.
Fossil fuel cost parity
With zero emissions and zero impact on water use, the company claims its storage technology can achieve cost parity with thermal and nuclear power when deployed alongside renewable energy generation facilities.
Yesterday’s announcement stated the planned Vermont facility will provide grid-synchronous inertia, to help even out electricity supply and demand; market arbitrage – to exploit different price levels by trading electricity between different markets; frequency regulation; reserve power; and management of grid constraints.
Encore and Highview are reportedly in talks with potential utility and electricity transmission customers across the U.S. about deployment of its CRYOBattery. It was not clear whether such customers have already been secured for the Vermont project.
pv magazine has contacted Highview for more details.