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The Facts on Carbon Capture vs Batteries 


The Facts on Carbon Capture vs Batteries 

The Facts on Carbon Capture vs Batteries 

Robin Duquette shares a comprehensive article that explains why carbon capture is a cost-effective way to reach clean-power targets.

Solar and wind have become the de-facto technologies for attaining 100 percent clean-power targets. But their intermittency is such that we have to store energy for many hours if we rely only on these resources to cover 100 percent of the load. Ensuring solar and wind resources’ adequacy with batteries is much more expensive than using some dispatchable low carbon resources like a natural gas combined-cycle retrofitted with carbon capture (“NG4C”).

We have found that NG4C is more cost-effective than long-duration batteries for delivering 100 percent clean-power in California and Texas. It is also the case when assuming a modest investment cost of $60/kWh for battery storage and providing only 75 percent clean-power (we purchase the remaining 25 percent in the wholesale market).

This article shows that using a mix of solar, wind, NG4C, and short-duration batteries in California and Texas can deliver 100 percent clean-power at a reasonable cost compared to current wholesale price levels.

What does it mean to commit to 100 (or less) percent clean-power?

Committing to 100 (or less) percent clean-power is to meet the load (i.e., consumption) with 100 (or less) percent energy produced from low carbon resources. For example, the exhibit below shows that we are meeting 95 percent of the load over 24 hours with a combination of solar, wind, NG4C, and a battery discharging previously produced solar, wind, or NG4C energy. We meet the remaining 5% with purchases in the wholesale market.

As we can infer, this definition is more stringent than compensating consumption with renewable energy without taking into account its profile. But the latter does not correspond to what system operators have to manage.

With this definition of 100 (or less) percent clean-power, an issue is the need to trace clean energy to make sure we produce it at the right time and location and coordinate the various resources to meet the load at minimum cost. We have an initiative that we call Flex Bank, aimed at providing a solution to this problem.

Key points include:

  • Achieving 100 percent clean-power

  • Retrofitting a natural gas combined-cycle

  • Average cost related to various scenarios of clean-power

Read the full article, Carbon capture can be much cheaper than batteries to meet 100 percent clean-power targets, on Medium.