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Highview Power launches liquid air energy storage into the US with 400MWh Vermont project

By Alice Grundy
The 400MWh US system follows on from the announcement of a 250MWh system in the UK. Image: Highview Power.

Highview Power is laying claim to the first installation of a long duration liquid air energy storage (LAES) system in the United States.

The system – set to be a minimum of 50MW / 400MWh – is being jointly developed by Highview and Encore Renewable Energy and is to provide in excess of eight hours of storage.

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Highview’s LAES uses excess of off-peak electricity to clean and compress air which is then stored in liquid form in insulated tanks, with temperatures closing in on 320 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-196 C).

The pressurised gas is then allowed to warm, turning a turbine as it expands, therefore generating energy. The latest volume of PV Tech Power, available now for free download, takes an in-depth look at long duration battery and non-battery energy storage technologies, including Highview’s LAES, pumped hydro, thermal, flow and several others.

Located in Vermont, a state with favourable policies for renewable and storage projects with a target of reaching 90% of total energy supply from renewable sources by 2050, the system is to contribute to resolving the energy transmission challenges surrounding its Sheffield-Highgate Export Interface. It is also to enable the efficient transport of excess power from renewable generation to help integrate them on the grid. 

Highview lauds its system as being able to store energy for weeks at the lowest levelised cost of storage (LCOS) for long durations in the industry, as well as its ability to provide grid synchronous inertia. The system is also capable of delivering market arbitrage, frequency management, reserve and grid constraint management services.

Discussions are underway with potential utility and transmission grid operator customers regarding these capabilities.

Salvatore Minopoli, vice president of Highview Power USA, said the company chose Encore due to its experience in community-scale solar PV and traditional battery storage applications.

Highview is also to build a 250MWh LAES system in the UK, having announced the install in October. The company is planning to build five of the systems in the UK, all of the same size.

Chad Farrell, founder and CEO of Encore Renewable Energy praised Highview’s technology for its cost effectiveness and ability to enable a “great amount” of renewable energy generation in constrained areas.

“It will also allow for fewer curtailments and provide important energy balancing services for the rapidly evolving modern grid; all of which are extremely important as we look to build the infrastructure required to support a robust clean energy economy,” Farrell continued.

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