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Compressed Air Storage // New Geothermal Map // Solar Social Dynamics

Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: finding more cost-effective long-term energy storage and a new map reveals geothermal’s potential.

For Cheaper Long Term Energy Storage, Look to Compressed Air

A recent study from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) examined the costs of different sources of long-duration energy storage (LDES). While the vast majority of battery-based storage comes from lithium-ion batteries, BNEF found compressed air and thermal energy storage sytems to be more cost-effective.

“Thermal energy storage and compressed air storage are the least expensive LDES technologies, at $232 per kilowatt-hour and $293 per kWh of capex, respectively, data from the survey shows. For comparison, lithium-ion systems had an average capex of $304/kWh for four-hour duration systems in 2023.”

New Map Reveals Geothermal’s Vast Potential

Project Innerspace, a nonprofit focused on building out the geothermal industry, has released GeoMap, an interactive platform that shows geothermal hotspots in the U.S. While geothermal’s potential is huge across the U.S., western states in particular stand to benefit from tapping into the energy source, especially as coal plants begin to retire. As The Hill reports:

“The data also shows that most of the active coal plants in the West — plants that rely on using heat from fossil fuels to generate electricity — sit atop hot rock within a mile of the surface… it also includes a broad array of decommissioned coal plants — sites that still sit in the center of webs of power lines that could onboard future clean power onto the grid while avoiding the roadblocks around permitting new transmission corridors.”

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