Storing excess energy generated by green sources could save Ontario, Canada up to $8 billion (£5bn) over a 20-year period.
That’s according to a new study which looks at the benefits of compressed air energy storage (CAES).
The majority of the province’s energy needs are met by nuclear and hydropower but extra demand must be met by irregular sources – sometimes renewables but often gas-fired plants.
These plants receive ‘capacity payments’ whether or not the plants are operating and CAES technology could eliminate this need, saving up to $5 billion (£3bn) the report claims.
Ontario also has periods of excess demand and supply and must pay nuclear operating stations a fee to reduce their output and using CAES technology reduces the need for this service, saving the province up to $2.6 billion (£1.65bn).
Dr. Andrew Ford, author of the study and Professor at Washington State University, said: “Renewable sources of energy can be unpredictable. Energy storage technology can make renewable energy available whenever it’s needed and that will pay dividends for Ontario.”
The study estimates 1,000MW of CAES capacity could cut carbon emissions by 87 million tonnes by the end of the decade.