Recently, Vermont Electric Co-op and Highview Power, were musing a liquid air energy storage, LAES, plant, using excess wind electricity generated with wind turbine plants, to be installed, in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, NEK.


Baker-Hughes is an advisor regarding LAES to Highview Power.

Baker-Hughes estimates the all-in, turnkey cost (financing, operating, maintenance, etc.) at 15 to 25 c/kWh, just for the LAES plant.

Large-capacity plants would have 15 c/kWh, as delivered to the grid.

Small-capacity plants, as in the NEK, would have 25 c/kWh, as delivered to the grid.


Vermont Electric Co-op is Studying LAES


Vermont Electric Co-op said that after three conversations with Highview Power, its LAES technology still remains an “option.” Are they waiting for more subsidies?


Sounds like an LAES system hasn’t been “completely” ruled out, but any storage is more likely going to be a utility-scale battery system.


LAES System


Let us set the Baker-Hughes number at 25 c/kWh, for a small-capacity LAES plant in the NEK


The weak, rural NEK grid would be overloaded with wind electricity, if strong winds and low demand at night.


The LAES plant would alleviate the overload by running at night, plus would benefit from low NE grid prices of 3 to 4 c/kWh.


The total al-in operating cost would be about 25, LAES + 4, electricity = 29.0 c/kWh; these are wholesale prices.


Using Excess Wind and Solar Electricity?


The variable wind and solar electricity could not be directly used by the LAES plant, because its multi-stage, refrigeration compressors need steady electricity!


The LAES plant would draw EXCESS, steady electricity from the NEK grid that would otherwise overload the weak NEK grid.


The LAES system:


- Uses excess electricity at low demand times (at night) for the multi-stage refrigeration system to liquefy air at a temperature of - 196°C (- 321F) and atmospheric pressure.

- Stores the liquid air in well-insulated tanks. Continuous refrigeration would be required to offset heat losses of the stored liquid air; the outdoor temperature may vary from 90F in summer to -20F in winter.

- Brings the liquid air back to a gaseous state in a pressure vessel, with auxiliary heat.

- Uses that pressurized air to turn an air turbine to generate electricity.


Germany and the UK have a few highly-subsidized pilot plants, but elsewhere, including in virtue-signaling Vermont, this concept is still in “the looking at” stage.


Sources of Auxiliary Heat for Gasifying Liquid Air


- Refrigeration System: Low-grade hot water, about 120 F could be available from the refrigeration system


- Industrial Process Heat: The Highview Power sales literature mentions waste heat from a nearby industrial process, which likely does not exist in the NEK.


-  Hot Water Boiler: A hot water boiler plant likely would be used to increase the 120F water to about 200F for storage. It likely would be wood-fired, because “burning wood is renewable”. See Appendix.

Reaction Times


LAES systems would have much long reaction times, about 5 minutes, due to gasifying air from storage, heating it, bringing the air turbine/generator up to 3600 rpm, and connecting, in sync, to the HV grid.


LAES systems could be used to continuously smooth short-term grid disturbances caused by electricity from wind, similar to the $10.5 million synchronous-condenser system used by GMP to minimize grid disturbances caused by the 63 MW wind turbine system at Lowell, VT.


They could not immediately provide a burst of power, in case of grid disturbances, such as due to a plant unscheduled outage.


Tesla-type, modular battery systems would provide that burst of power within less than 0.1 second, for a long enough period to give another power plant sufficient time to come on line.


System Efficiency


The LAES system would have in/out losses of about 30 to 40%, based on various energy inputs into the LAES plant and the energy output, electricity, from the plant to the NE grid.


Any input from the HV grid would need to be stepped down to plant voltage, which has losses


The voltage of the plant output would need to be stepped up to the HV grid, which has losses.


Short-Term Storage, Not Long-Term Storage


The LAES scheme would be used for short-term storage of electric power, not for storage for weeks and months.

There is no scheme I know of that can be economically used for electricity storage for weeks and months.


The LAES scheme cannot be scaled up to store surplus solar electricity produced during the sunny summer months for use later during dark winter months.


In winter there are high pressure cold air masses that result in cold, windless days that for a large portion of a month. See URLs



Owners of wind plants usually sell to utilities at about 9.0 c/kWh, under long-term contracts.

Utilities could have bought at NE grid prices, which have averaged about 5 c/kWh during the 2009 – 2020 period.

Utilities charge more to rate payers to recoup their extra costs, when they buy at 9 c/kWh.

Owners are able to sell at such a low price, because of subsidies and cost shifting. See table 1.


Curtailment of Wind Output During High Winds


Curtailment would be FAR cheaper; just pay the owners of wind turbines 9.0 c/kWh for the electricity they COULD have generated during periods of curtailment.

Looks to me like a no-brainer compared to LAES at 29.0 c/kWh, as long as no one games the system. 


Curtailment is reducing the wind turbine output, by feathering the blades, during high wind conditions to avoid overloading the weak, rural NEK grid.


LAES Cost Effective?


This is a whole new meaning of “cost effective” which was unfamiliar to me.

Someone mentioned, once TCI and other carbon taxes increase the cost of fossil-fuel generated electricity to around $2.00/kWh, this scheme will be so much cheaper that they’ll have to impose taxes on it to keep government revenues stable.

My thanks for the reminder. I keep forgetting the hair-shirt, future misery and deprivation awaiting me.


“Burning Wood is Renewable” is often proclaimed without proper definition.


However, the CO2 of:


- Logging, chipping and transport CO2 would not be renewable

- Energy for running the plant would not be renewable


Reabsorption CO2 by forests, with at least 40-y harvest rotations in colder climates, would be slow:


1) CO2 from combustion would be reabsorbed, by regrowth on harvested areas, in colder climates, over 80 - 100 years, and

2) CO2 from decay from logging-damage to underground biomass, due to heavy cutting and clear cutting, would be reabsorbed, by regrowth on harvested areas, in colder climates, over 80 - 100 years. See note. 


In the real world, a logger would come along, look at these newly grown 35 to 40-y-old trees, and think them ready for cutting, i.e., the CO2 likely would never be fully offset by new growth, on the harvested areas.


NOTE: The mantra “Burning wood is Renewable” is only true regarding our combustion CO2, if absorption of our combustion CO2 occurred on our harvested areas.

Other areas of the forest are not available to our combustion CO2, because they already busy absorbing CO2.




The true cost of wind electricity is very expensive, about 9.0 c/kWh, with subsidies and cost shifting, about 18.8 c/kWh, without subsidies and without cost shifting. See URLs.


Values for 2018 are represented in below table.


Table 1/NE Wind/Solar

NE Wind


NE Solar






Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

No cost shifting





Less cost shifting





Price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting





Less subsidy, wind

45% of 16.4



Less subsidy, solar

45% of 21.4



Price to utility*

With direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting








NE should have much more of clean (no particulates, etc.), near-zero-CO2 hydro electricity from Canada, which is eager to sell to us at a low c/kWh. GMP is buying about 1.2 million MWh/y of HQ electricity at about 5.7 c/kWh, under a recent 20-y contract.


However, greedy, subsidy-seeking, renewable energy entities in Vermont, working in cahoots with legislators and career bureaucrats, have been keeping it out for years.


They want electricity production, mostly heavily subsidized, wind and solar, done the home-grown, expensive way.

That electricity is made to LOOK less expensive by subsidies and cost shifting, but if subsidies and cost shifting are included, it would be very expensive. See Appendix.


A standard 1000 MW transmission line from Quebec to the Vermont border, about $1.5 billion, mostly paid for by Canada, could provide about 4.5 billion kWh/y of very clean, near-zero CO2/kWh, no particulate pollution/kWh, STEADY, 98% hydro-electricity, from Hydro Quebec, for about 6.0 - 6.5 c/kWh, under a 20-y power purchase contract.


The price would be adjusted based on at NE grid wholesale prices, which have been about 5 c/kWh starting in 2009, 11 years. It is the far beyond rational for Vermont to not buy more H-Q electricity.


Canada would build, and pay for, the transmission line to the Vermont border.




Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?

Tesla came through, and after initial testing, the record-setting battery was switched on earlier this month. It was just in time, too, as South Australia’s brutal summers begin in December. In fact, within two weeks of going online, the Hornsdale Power Reserve battery system (as it’s officially called) was put to its first test. On Dec. 14, one of the coal-power units at Loy Yang, one of the biggest power stations in Australia tripped up, causing a sudden and massive drop of power—560 MW, enough to power some 170,000 Australian homes.

This was exactly the type of problem the Tesla battery was built to solve; the Twitter bet was made after Musk announced publicly that his batteries could solve South Australia’s chronic summer power-outage problems. Tesla passed with flying colors. In literally less than a blink of the eye—it happened so fast the Australian energy market regulator couldn’t time it—the Tesla battery, 620 miles (about 1,000 km) away from the coal plant, shot a 7 MW burst of electricity into the grid, stopping the bleeding and starting the grid back on its way to recovery.

Then, on Dec. 22, it happened again: a different coal unit at Loy Yang tripped, this time causing a 353 MW loss in capacity, and again, the Tesla battery came to the rescue, responding in milliseconds with a 16 MW injection to keep the grid under control.

Almost all grids have a backup power source contracted to sit dormant during periods of low-energy need, and kick into gear when needed. In most cases, these backups are fossil-fuel “peaking power plants”—fossil fuels remain the most reliable way to provide energy in emergencies. The success of Tesla’s battery system, which is charged by wind power, could be seen as a proof-of-concept that a renewable-plus-battery-storage system could replace the need for backup fossil-fuel plants.

The Tesla battery is technically only contracted for a few specific services to the local grid, so the Hornsdale Power Reserve didn’t have to help out in the case of this larger Australian energy failure. And in fact, it really couldn’t have solved the problem on its own.

As fast and clean and big as the Tesla battery is, it’s still pretty measly in the grand scheme of things. It can power about 30,000 homes, but 70 MW of the 100 MW/129 MWh system can only last 10 minutes; the other 30 MW can provide three hours of power. In that region, at that time (based on Australia’s Frequency Control Ancillary Services market), the contracted backup to the grid was a coal plant at the Gladstone Power Station, which in these two recent cases, did kick in a few seconds after the Tesla battery, relieving the battery of its duties.

In other words, the lithium ion battery farm is a great backup—maybe the world’s best, given its speed—but still needs to be bailed out by fossil fuels, eventually.

Another issue is that batteries attached to wind power generators, like this one, are inherently unstable. As Akshat Rathi reported for Quartz earlier this month, lithium ion batteries can only hold energy for a few weeks at most, and they start to lose their charge as soon as the charging source is removed. If the wind stops blowing in Adelaide, Musk’s big battery becomes useless. So, for now—until either battery prices drop significantly or we devise a way for them to hold charges for longer—these sorts of systems are really only good as backup for peak energy periods, like summer in Australia. That’s why we haven’t seen battery farms sprouting up all over the place: governments and utilities don’t want to spend money on something that’s useless for most of the year.

That said, some analysts say the costs of renewable energy and batteries will drop fast enough that these systems could compete with fossil fuel “peaker plants” as soon as 2025. And Tesla’s success in South Australia already has many clamoring for government interventions into the energy market that would make Tesla-like systems more financially feasible, and help speed up the death of fossil fuels.

This story has been updated to clarify the size of the Hornsdale Power Reserve battery system, and the nature of the Gladstone Power Station’s role as grid backup.



Highview Power Storage, a UK Company Looking for Business in the US


Highview Power Storage is located in London’s Trafalgar Square - the company was founded in 2005 and is a “developer of large-scale energy storage solutions for utility and distributed power systems”.

Highview Power Storage operates with a six-member management team, including CEO Gareth Brent and a five-person team of “Non-Executive Directors”.


Highview’s technology was successfully commissioned with a 350 kW by 2.5 MWh pilot project in 2011, located in Slough, UK. The technology relies on storing air in liquid form above ground and can also be designed to leverage waste heat from industrial processes to aid in the efficiency of the energy recovery process.

According to the Highview website, this pilot facility was connected to the grid and “subjected to a full testing regime, including performance testing for the US PJM electricity market


A description of the benefits of this “liquid air energy storage” (“LAES”) technology is included on the Highview Power Storage website (see image at right). Similar to other companies, Highview’s technology seeks to break free from the geological requirements inherent in traditional CAES technology that relies on storing air in underground salt caverns.


With funding from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (“DECC”), Highview Power Storage is working to develop a 5 MW by 15 MWh LAES system that will be paired with a Viridor landfill gas generation plant. This combined facility will not only store “wrong time” generation, but it will also convert low-grade waste heat to power.



Wind and Solar Subsidies Provide a Bonanza for Wall Street


This URL shows wind and solar prices per kWh would be at least 50% higher without direct and indirect subsidies. They would be even higher, if the costs of other items were properly allocated to the owners of wind and solar projects, instead of shifted elsewhere. See below section High Levels of Wind and Solar Require Energy Storage.


This URL shows about 2/3 of the financial value of a wind project is due to direct and indirect subsidies, and the other 1/3 is due to electricity sales.


- Indirect subsidies are due to federal and state tax rebates due to loan interest deductions from taxable income, and federal and state MARCS depreciation deductions from taxable income.


- Direct subsidies are up-front federal and state cash grants, the partial waiving of state sales taxes, the partial waiving of local property, municipal and school taxes. See URLs.


Any owner, foreign or domestic, of a wind and/or solar project, looking to shelter taxable income from their other US businesses, is allowed to depreciate in 6 years almost the entire cost of a wind and solar project under the IRS scheme called Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System, MARCS. The normal period for other forms of utility depreciation is about 20 years.


Then, with help of Wall Street financial wizardry from financial tax shelter advisers, such as BNEF*, JPMorgan, Lazard, etc., the owner sells the project to a new owner who is allowed to depreciate, according to MARCS, almost his entire cost all over again. Over the past 20 years, there now are many thousands of owners of RE projects who are cashing in on that bonanza.


Loss of Federal and State Tax Revenues: The loss of tax revenues to federal and state governments due to MARCS was estimated by the IRS at $266 billion for the 5y period of 2017 - 2021, or about $53.2 billion/y.

The IRS is required to annually provide a 5y-running estimate to Congress, by law.

The next report would be for the 2018 - 2022 period


The indirect largesse of about $53.2 billion/y, mostly for wind and solar plants^ that produce expensive, variable/intermittent electricity, does not show up in electric rates. It likely is added to federal and state debts.


Most of the direct federal subsidies to all energy projects of about $25 billion/y also do not show up in electric rates. They likely were also added to the federal debt.


Most of the direct state subsidies to RE projects likely were added to state debts.


The additional costs of state-mandated RPS requirements likely were added to the utility rate base for electric rates.


* BNEF is Bloomberg New Energy Finance, owned by the pro-RE former Mayor Bloomberg (net worth about $25 billion), of New York City (presently running for US President), which provides financial services to the wealthy of the world, including providing them with tax avoidance schemes.


^ In New England, wind is near zero for about 30% of the hours of the year, and solar is minimal or zero for about 70% of the hours of the year. Often these hours coincide for multi-day periods, which happen at random throughout the year, per ISO-NE real-time, minute-by-minute generation data posted on its website. Where would the electricity come from during these hours; $multi-billion battery storage, insufficient capacity hydro storage?


Warren Buffett Quote: "I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire's tax rate," Buffet told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska recently. "For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit."



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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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