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Role of Long-Duration Energy Storage in Variable Renewable Electricity Systems

Dowling, Jacqueline A. and Rinaldi, Katherine Z. and Ruggles, Tyler H. and Davis, Steven J. and Yuan, Mengyao and Tong, Fan and Lewis, Nathan S. and Caldeira, Ken (2020) Role of Long-Duration Energy Storage in Variable Renewable Electricity Systems. Joule, 4 (9). pp. 1907-1928. ISSN 2542-4351. doi:10.1016/j.joule.2020.07.007.

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Reliable and affordable electricity systems based on variable energy sources, such as wind and solar may depend on the ability to store large quantities of low-cost energy over long timescales. Here, we use 39 years of hourly U.S. weather data, and a macro-scale energy model to evaluate capacities and dispatch in least cost, 100% reliable electricity systems with wind and solar generation supported by long-duration storage (LDS; 10 h or greater) and battery storage. We find that the introduction of LDS lowers total system costs relative to wind-solar-battery systems, and that system costs are twice as sensitive to reductions in LDS costs as to reductions in battery costs. In least-cost systems, batteries are used primarily for intra-day storage and LDS is used primarily for inter-season and multi-year storage. Moreover, dependence on LDS increases when the system is optimized over more years. LDS technologies could improve the affordability of renewable electricity.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Dowling, Jacqueline A.0000-0001-5642-8960
Rinaldi, Katherine Z.0000-0002-0746-2852
Ruggles, Tyler H.0000-0002-6643-2047
Davis, Steven J.0000-0002-9338-0844
Yuan, Mengyao0000-0002-5923-4085
Tong, Fan0000-0003-4661-3956
Lewis, Nathan S.0000-0001-5245-0538
Caldeira, Ken0000-0002-4591-643X
Additional Information:© 2020 Elsevier Inc. Received 14 May 2020, Revised 21 May 2020, Accepted 9 July 2020, Available online 6 August 2020. J.A.D. acknowledges fellowship support from the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech. This work was also supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a fellowship from SoCalGas in support of Low Carbon Energy Science and Policy, and a gift from Gates Ventures LLC to the Carnegie Institution for Science. The authors thank Lei Duan, and David Farnham for providing wind, solar, and demand input data. J.A.D. thanks Eric Ewing for technical assistance during manuscript preparation. Author Contributions: N.S.L. and K.C. conceived this study. J.A.D., K.C., and N.S.L. designed the analyses with contributions from K.Z.R., T.H.R., M.Y., and F.T. K.C., F.T., M.Y., and J.A.D. developed and tested the version of the model used in this study. K.Z.R. assisted with literature review, T.H.R. compiled various technology costs, and S.J.D. improved the figures and main text. J.A.D. performed the analyses and wrote the manuscript with interactive feedback from N.S.L., K.C., K.Z.R., T.H.R., S.J.D., M.Y., and F.T. All authors edited the manuscript and provided helpful discussions. The authors declare no competing interests.
Group:Resnick Sustainability Institute
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Southern California Gas CompanyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:long-duration energy storage; renewable energy; zero-carbon electricity; electricity cost; macro-energy model; wind energy; solar energy; batteries; storage technologies; long-term energy storage
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200806-090232377
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Jacqueline A. Dowling, Katherine Z. Rinaldi, Tyler H. Ruggles, Steven J. Davis, Mengyao Yuan, Fan Tong, Nathan S. Lewis, Ken Caldeira, Role of Long-Duration Energy Storage in Variable Renewable Electricity Systems, Joule, Volume 4, Issue 9, 2020, Pages 1907-1928, ISSN 2542-4351, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104772
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:06 Aug 2020 17:52
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:34

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