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What is long duration energy storage?

When you’re away from outlets enjoying the great outdoors or on a long road trip, you might pack a portable battery to charge your phone and other devices. In a similar way, energy companies are beginning to add battery systems to the energy grid that store large amounts of energy for later use.  

Long duration energy storage (LDES) is becoming a common type of storage technology energy companies use to store and deliver 10 or more hours of electricity. The length of time these systems store energy comes into play when we talk about managing energy costs.  

Just like milk, gas and other products, the cost to generate and distribute energy changes based on supply and demand. Energy demand fluctuates daily between high or peak times and low or off-peak times. Energy is generally cheaper to generate during off-peak times because there is excess generation capacity available compared to customer demand. Storing that excess, cheaper energy for later use is one key benefit of LDES technology that can help manage energy costs.  

LDES also offers a solution to the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources. Though renewable sources offer many benefits like low operating costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, the sun isn’t always out, and wind isn’t always blowing when energy is needed. Battery storage helps fill the gap between energy production and consumption.  

Including LDES in a resource plan can bring many other benefits including: 

  • Energy security. LDES helps make the energy supply more reliable and it minimizes disruptions. This is especially important during extreme weather events or emergencies that can impact energy generation.  
  • Economic growth. The development and deployment of LDES technologies can create jobs, supporting local economies. 
  • Flexibility. LDES systems range in size to meet the needs of customers across different regions and applications.  

LDES complements the continued growth of renewable energy generating facilities, enhances grid stability and provides several economic and environmental benefits. It’s quickly becoming a valuable component of energy generation resource planning.  

Learn more about our current LDES project in the works here.  

Grant Barton is a Communications Partner with a passion for sustainability and eco-friendly city planning. He has a diverse background in engineering, politics and international communications and hopes to apply this experience when writing and breaking down complex topics related to Alliant Energy's Clean Energy Future plans.

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