The design space for long-duration energy storage in decarbonized power systems

Nestor A. Sepulveda, Jesse D. Jenkins, Aurora Edington, Dharik S. Mallapragada, Richard K. Lester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

244 Scopus citations


Long-duration energy storage (LDES) is a potential solution to intermittency in renewable energy generation. In this study we have evaluated the role of LDES in decarbonized electricity systems and identified the cost and efficiency performance necessary for LDES to substantially reduce electricity costs and displace firm low-carbon generation. Our findings show that energy storage capacity cost and discharge efficiency are the most important performance parameters. Charge/discharge capacity cost and charge efficiency play secondary roles. Energy capacity costs must be ≤US$20 kWh–1 to reduce electricity costs by ≥10%. With current electricity demand profiles, energy capacity costs must be ≤US$1 kWh–1 to fully displace all modelled firm low-carbon generation technologies. Electrification of end uses in a northern latitude context makes full displacement of firm generation more challenging and requires performance combinations unlikely to be feasible with known LDES technologies. Finally, LDES systems with the greatest impact on electricity cost and firm generation have storage durations exceeding 100 h.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-516
Number of pages11
JournalNature Energy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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