• Long-term storage and permitting process simplification key to security of supply and emissions reductions

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The means of long-term storage of energy and the simplification of permitting processes for the deployment of renewable energies must be quickly advanced if security of supply and emissions reductions targets are to be met in the US, EU and UK, according to a short policy review article published by Reuters.

Permitting processes are already recognised by those states as of vital importance to getting projects up and running, and in the US in particular such processes are now being simplified. Much energy storage infrastructure is currently provided by pumped hydro, in which water is pumped to a height to preserve energy as potential energy, but suitable sites for such installations are limited by geography, with mountainous, sparsely populated areas the most suitable but often the least available, Norway being one exception. Work on other means is underway, though, with the UK recently awarding £68 million (€82 million/$US88 million) to demonstrate emerging long-term storage technologies, including green hydrogen production from excess wind power, and the use of underground shafts and weights operating on similar principles to pumped hydro.

Business models are also being investigated. In the US, the Energy Earthshots Initiative of the Department of Energy is helping to spur the innovation of long-term storage technologies, including through the Hydrogen Shot, which “seeks to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 per 1 kilogram in 1 decade”. With both security of supply and climate change being increasingly urgent issues, there is much riding on the results of this work.