The market leader in build-anywhere long-duration energy storage, Highview Power, now has more than a dozen firm projects in its pipeline, adding up to roughly 400MW/4GWh, the company’s chief executive reveals to Recharge.
Eight of these will enter the execution phase this year or next, in addition to the 50MW/250MWh project currently under construction in Manchester, England, explains Javier Cavada. And the company has more than 60 further projects in its pipeline.
“In the US, we have over 40 projects between early development to late development across the whole country,” he says. “In Chile, we have two. In Spain, we have 14 including the Canaries. In the UK, we have 11 plus the 12th is the one that is under construction. I would say those are the ones that I can claim that in the coming two years should be moving forward.”
He added that the average project size is 50MW with ten hours of storage (500MWh), and that he believed that 20 was a “safe” number of the projects that would definitely be built — adding up to a pipeline of about 400MW/4GWh. In terms of storage capacity, that is more than three times larger than the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, the 300MW/1.2GWh Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility in California.
Highview Power’s liquid-air technology is surprisingly straightforward. Air is cooled down to -196°C, shrinking its volume by a factor of 700, and stored in low-pressure vacuum-insulated steel tanks — the kind that houses liquefied natural gas (LNG). When this cryogenically frozen air is exposed to ambient temperatures, it turns back into a gas and rapidly expands, with the rush of air from this 700-fold expansion directly driving an electricity-generating turbine.
Cavada explains that, unlike some of Highview’s competitors in the long-duration energy storage space, the build-out of projects does not depend on the scaling up of new technology or the construction of new factories. Most of the equipment needed at each liquid-air storage facility is off-the-shelf and available from leading suppliers such as Siemens, GE, ABB and MAN.
Highview is currently focusing on California, the UK and Chile because these markets already have regulatory frameworks that enable long-duration storage projects to make money.