Meeting inter-seasonal fluctuations in electricity production or demand in a system dominated by renewable energy requires the cheap, reliable and accessible storage of energy on a scale that is currently challenging to achieve. Commercially mature compressed-air energy storage could be applied to porous rocks in sedimentary basins worldwide, where legacy data from hydrocarbon exploration are available, and if geographically close to renewable energy sources. Here we present a modelling approach to predict the potential for compressed-air energy storage in porous rocks. By combining this with an extensive geological database, we provide a regional assessment of this potential for the United Kingdom. We find the potential storage capacity is equivalent to approximately 160% of the United Kingdom’s electricity consumption for January and February 2017 (77–96 TWh), with a roundtrip energy efficiency of 54–59%. This UK storage potential is achievable at costs in the range US$0.42–4.71 kWh−1.
- electricity production
- compressed-air energy storage
- energy storage
- electricity consumption