Assessing the potential for Compressed Air Energy Storage using the offshore UK saline aquifer resource
Mouli-Castillo, Julien Manuel Albert
In the context of the development of renewable energy sources in the U.K., and of the increase in anthropogenic atmospheric CO2, it is important to develop alternative ways of providing energy to the community. The shift to renewable sources of electricity comes to a cost: variable generation. At present, an important part of the renewable electricity capacity is being curtailed during low demand periods. One way to ensure that electricity supply matches demand is to store excess energy when it is available and deliver it when demand cannot be met by primary generation alone. Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) allows this storage. The aim of this project is to build upon existing knowledge on CAES using porous rocks (PM-CAES) to assess the technical feasibility for this storage technology to be developed offshore of the UK. The focus is on inter-seasonal storage. This assessment is undertaken by developing geological and power plant models to calculate the storage potential of offshore UK formations. Modelling of a conceptual aquifer air store enables approximations of the subsurface pressure response to CAES operations. These pressure changes are coupled with surface facilities models to provide estimates of both load/generation capacity and roundtrip efficiencies. Algebraic predictive models can be developed from the results of a sensitivity analysis of the store and plant idealised models. Screening of the CO2 Stored database, containing data on geological formations offshore of the UK (initially developed for CO2 storage), was then performed to estimate PM-CAES potential using the predictive models. The results suggest that there is substantial PM-CAES potential in the UK. Results indicate an energy storage potential in the range of 77-96 TWh, which can be released over 60 days. A geographic information system (GIS) study was then performed to identify the portion of the identified storage potential colocated with offshore windfarm. 19 TWh of the storage potential identified is colocated with windfarm and would be achievable at an average levelised cost of electricity of 0.70 £/kWh.