DOE provides $505M to advance long-duration energy storage fed by renewables – Utility Dive

by | May 17, 2022 | Energy

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Dive Brief:

To help commercialize emerging energy storage that can power the grid for at least 10 hours, the Department of Energy has launched a $505 million four-year initiative. It aims to lower barriers to grid energy storage, and support small-scale, behind-the-meter pilots as well as large utility-scale demonstrations.
DOE’s initiative, announced May 12, will tap into the know-how of its agency and research laboratories, and industry to make “solar power available when the sun isn’t shining and keeping wind energy on tap when there’s no breeze” at an affordable cost, it stated.
For long-duration energy storage to become prime time, not only must the cost of emerging technologies fall drastically, like they have for solar and wind, but many more renewables must be added to the U.S. grid, according to an energy storage analyst. In addition, the market must provide adequate compensation regardless of how often the storage supplies the grid.

Dive Insight:
DOE’s new Long Duration Energy Storage for Everyone, Everywhere initiative aims to increase local control, “build resilience for communities, minimize power grid disruptions, and help reach President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said when the initiative was announced at the end of last week.
Today, lithium-ion batteries dominate the energy storage front but their duration to date has been limited to two- to four hours. To keep energy flowing across the grids in the U.S., especially during extreme weather, storage with much longer duration is needed, analysts and grid operators say.
And the emerging long-lasting storage is inextricably linked to solar and wind resources.
Today, however, renewables across the U.S., including hydropower, make up only about 20% of average supplies and much more is needed, said Dan Shreve, Wood Mackenzie’s Global Head of Energy Storage. Thus, the timing of DOE’s new initiative is good as it allows young startups to “get their technology out in the field and demonstrate its capability to ensure that there is technology readiness when it is required,” Shreve said.
Long-duration storage has the unique opportunity of “balancing higher levels of renewable penetration without having to overbuild on the generation side,” and perhaps also alleviating some “extraordinarily problematic additional transmission buildout,” according to Shreve.
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