Analysis Group Feasibility Study Demonstrates Potential Value of Advanced Storage Technology

March 07, 2014

Analysis Group was engaged to assess the value and explore the potential development of an advanced electricity storage technology, the liquid metal battery (LMB) under development by Ambri Inc. In "Project Vigilance: Functional Feasibility Study for the Installation of Ambri Energy Storage Batteries at Joint Base Cape Cod," Analysis Group researchers find that the technology has the potential to generate substantial cost savings, security enhancements, and reliability benefits to the U.S. military and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as municipalities, consumers, utilities, and commercial interests.

Vice President Paul Hibbard, Managing Principal Susan Tierney, Managers Stephen Carpenter and Pavel Darling, and Analyst Margaret Reilly employed Analysis Group's Renewable & Storage Optimization Model (RSOM), which is used to analyze the potential quantitative value of a wide range of different storage technologies (with different operational and efficiency profiles) in a variety of possible wholesale market and retail service settings. The potential benefits of Ambri's LMB technology from system reliability, efficiency, and state and federal policy perspectives were also qualitatively reviewed.

The study addresses the potential of LMB technology to support critical military requirements and reduce end-user costs; support the Commonwealth's policy goals on renewable integration, distribution systems modernization, and economic growth; engender cost savings; and aid in the integration of renewable generation (e.g., wind and solar) so that Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC) might achieve an appropriate degree of grid independence.

The team's key findings include:

  • Military mission. The use of LMB technology at JBCC would support Massachusetts's security and disaster response and restoration interests by helping the base reduce costs and achieve greater security for mission-critical operations.
  • Cost savings. LMB use at JBCC could generate electricity cost savings over an assumed 20-year battery life of up to almost $9.5 million, or roughly 23 percent of JBCC's current retail electricity costs.
  • Renewable generation. Widespread deployment of economic storage technologies can provide significant additional fast-start, fast-ramp resources to system operations, reduce technical and cost barriers to continued expansion, and improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the region's electricity markets.
  • Distribution systems. Widespread deployment of a fast, flexible, and economic electricity storage technology -- by utilities or end-users -- can enable end-users to take more control of electricity production, consumption, and cost factors.
  • Economic growth. The development of electricity storage technology businesses in the state supports Massachusetts's goal of fostering an advanced energy technology sector and can lead to increased commercial sales of in-state and export products.
  • Grid independence. Various combinations of renewable and storage capacity can dramatically reduce the capacity and amount of backup generation and fuel use needed to ensure the resilience of mission-critical operations in the event of outages.

The prototype LMB deployment was conducted under the InnovateMass Program and funded in part by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Analysis Group's partners in the project, which kicked off in May 2013, are the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, Ambri Inc., JBCC, and Raytheon Inc.

Read the study  

Read more about the RSOM model