WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $17.9 million in funding for four research and development projects to scale up American manufacturing of flow battery and long-duration storage systems. DOE also launched a new $9 million effort—the Energy Storage for Social Equity Initiative—to assist as many as 15 underserved and frontline communities leverage energy storage as a means of increasing resilience and lowering energy burdens. Together, this funding will help provide the materials needed to expand the grid with new, clean energy sources, deliver affordable electricity to disadvantaged communities, and help reach the Biden Administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“We’re moving at lightning speed to harness renewables and access to long duration storage is critical for dispatching this clean energy for use whenever and wherever it’s needed,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE’s investment to boost battery storage technology coupled with our first-ever Energy Storage for Social Equity Initiative will help generate jobs, build more resilient communities and ensure a cleaner, healthier environment for all Americans.”
Energy storage has the potential to accelerate full decarbonization of the electric grid. While shorter duration storage is currently being installed to support today’s level of renewable energy generation, longer duration storage technologies – like flow batteries – are needed as more renewables are deployed on the grid. Cheaper and more efficient storage will make it easier to capture and store renewable clean energy for use when energy generation is unavailable or lower than demand. For example, renewable sources generated during the daytime like solar-generated power can be used at night or nuclear energy generated during times of low demand can be used when demand increases.
Flow batteries are electrochemical batteries that use externally stored electrolytes, making them less expensive, safer, and more flexible and adaptable. DOE has selected four research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) projects for a total of $17.9 million in federal funding to advance flow-battery technologies. Selected projects will work to improve manufacturing processes for individual flow battery components and integrate those new or improved components into a prototype system with a mid-sized capacity for grid and industrial applications.
This investment is part of DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge and will be critical to achieving the department-wide Long Duration Storage Shot goal of reducing the cost of grid-scale energy storage by 90% within the decade. Learn more about the selected projects here.
“Climate change is at our front door, and we need to invest in innovative solutions, like better batteries, to combat it,” said U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper (CO).
“The Princeton community continues to be on the leading edge of energy technology. It should surprise no one that they are leading the way on battery storage technology. I’m grateful to the Department of Energy for continuing to recognize and support Princeton, NJ and TreadStone Technologies as they continue to shape the future,” said U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).
DOE also launched the Energy Storage for Social Equity initiative— a $9 million program designed to help communities better assess storage as a solution for increasing energy resilience while maintaining affordability and combating high energy insecurities. Nationally, more than 65% of low-income households face a high energy burden and more than 30% of all households experienced some form of energy insecurity—sometimes even foregoing food, medicine, and comfort in order to pay an energy bill.
Selected communities will gain access to DOE’s technical experts for assistance in conducting energy, economic, and spatial analysis, as well as assistance in developing and deploying locally-tailored energy storage projects.
The Energy Storage for Social Equity initiative is another example of DOE’s commitment to ensuring an equitable clean energy transition. On September 15, 2021, DOE announced a new Communities LEAP initiative aimed at helping environmental justice communities and communities with historical ties to fossil fuel industries take direct control of their clean energy future. Learn more about the Energy Storage for Social Equity initiative.
Interested communities must complete an Interest Form by 5:00 PM ET on November 5, 2021.