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Short-, medium-, and long-duration energy storage in a 100% renewable electricity grid: A UK case study

Cárdenas, Bruno; Swinfen-Styles, Lawrie; Rouse, James; Garvey, Seamus D.

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Senior Research Fellow in Thermo-Mechanical Energy Storage

Lawrie Swinfen-Styles

Assistant Professor


Energy storage will be required over a wide range of discharge durations in future zero-emission grids, from milliseconds to months. No single technology is well suited for the complete range. Using 9 years of UK data, this paper explores how to combine different energy storage technologies to minimize the total cost of electricity (TCoE) in a 100% renewable-based grid. Hydrogen, compressed air energy storage (CAES) and Li-ion batteries are considered short-, medium-, and long-duration energy stores, respectively. This paper analyzes different system configurations to find the one leading to the lowest overall cost. Results suggest that the UK will need a storage capacity of ~66.6 TWh to decarbonize its grid. This figure considers a mix of 85% wind + 15% solar-photovoltaics, and 15% over-generation. The optimum distribution of the storage capacity is: 55.3 TWh in hydrogen, 11.1 TWh in CAES and 168 GWh in Li-ion batteries. More than 60% of all energy emerging from storage comes from medium-duration stores. Based on current costs, the storage capacity required represents an investment of ~£172.6 billion, or approximately 8% of the country’s GDP. With this optimum system configuration, a TCoE of ~75.6 £/MWh is attained.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 13, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 17, 2021
Publication Date Dec 17, 2021
Deposit Date Apr 18, 2023
Publicly Available Date Apr 18, 2023
Journal Energies
Electronic ISSN 1996-1073
Publisher MDPI AG
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 24
Article Number 8524
Public URL
Publisher URL


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