A peak-shaving technology is recently proposed, which integrates peak-electricity generation, cryogenic energy storage and CO2 capture. In such a technology, off-peak electricity is used to produce liquid nitrogen and oxygen in an air separation and liquefaction unit. At peak hours, natural gas (or alternative gases, e.g. from gasification of coal) is burned by oxygen from the air separation unit (oxy-fuel combustion) to generate electricity. CO2 produced is captured in the form of dry ice. Liquid nitrogen produced in the air separation plant not only serves as an energy storage medium but also supplies the low-grade cold energy for CO2 separation. In addition, waste heat from the tail gas can be used to superheat nitrogen in the expansion process to further increase the system efficiency. This article reports a systematic approach, with an aim to provide technical information for the system design. Three potential blending gases (helium, oxygen and CO2) are considered not only for assessing thermodynamic performance but also for techno-economic analysis. The peak-shaving systems are also compared with natural gas combined cycle and an oxy–natural gas combined cycle in terms of capital cost and peak electricity production cost. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.