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In a significant move aligned with President Biden’s “Investing in America” agenda, a cornerstone of Bidenomics, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a substantial investment of up to $325 million in 15 projects spanning 17 states and one tribal nation. The primary goal of this funding initiative is to accelerate the development of long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies. These projects, funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, hold the promise of enhancing community control over local power systems, reducing grid vulnerabilities, and fostering the creation of reliable and cost-effective energy solutions.
This initiative aligns with DOE’s vision to achieve a 90% reduction in LDES costs by 2030 under its Long Duration Storage Shot initiative. Furthermore, it dovetails with the Biden-Harris Administration’s overarching strategy to advance critical clean energy innovations, promote renewable energy adoption, and fortify America’s energy security.
“As we build our clean energy future, reliable energy storage systems will play a key role in protecting communities by providing dependable sources of electricity when and where it’s needed most, particularly in the aftermath of extreme weather events or natural disasters. Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, DOE is supporting game-changing energy storage projects across the nation—laying the foundation for the innovative solutions we need to ensure stronger, more resilient communities” commented U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
The importance of energy storage lies in its ability to enable utilities and grid operators to efficiently harness the nation’s expanding portfolio of clean energy sources, such as solar and wind, as needed. Current energy storage technologies, however, do not yet possess the scalability or affordability required to fully support the widespread integration of renewable energy into the grid. According to DOE’s “Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: LDES” report, cheaper, longer-lasting, and more efficient storage solutions are imperative to meet the ever-fluctuating energy demands throughout the day and night.
Under the purview of the LDES Demonstrations Program, administered by DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), these projects encompass a variety of technology types designed to surmount the technical and institutional obstacles to large-scale deployment of LDES systems in diverse geographical and climatic conditions. The selected projects will include intraday (10 to 36 hours) and multiday (36 to 160+ hours) storage solutions, aimed at minimizing the frequency and duration of power interruptions caused by events like severe weather or cyberattacks on the grid. Several of these projects are set to explore innovative approaches to recycling retired batteries, thereby supporting the burgeoning domestic electric vehicle industry and generating economic opportunities while delivering environmental benefits to communities nationwide.
Some of the notable projects chosen for LDES Funding Opportunity include:
- Communities Accessing Resilient Energy Storage (CARES) (Red Lake Nation, Santa Fe, NM, and Petaluma, CA) — Led by Rejoule, this initiative aims to repurpose retired EV batteries to provide demand reduction, load shifting, and resilience to affordable housing complexes and a Red Lake Nation workforce development campus.
- Second life Smart Systems (SMART) (Atlanta, GA, San Diego, CA, Orangeburg, SC, Denmark, SC, and New Orleans, LA) — Led by Smartville Inc., this project seeks to repurpose retired electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries to construct stationary storage systems that enhance grid resiliency and energy affordability.
- Multiday Iron Air Demonstration (MIND) (Becker, MN, and Pueblo, CO) — Led by Xcel Energy, in partnership with Form Energy, this project aims to accelerate the commercialization and market development of multiday storage, including deploying long-duration storage systems at retiring coal plants.
- Children’s Hospital Resilient Grid with Energy Storage (CHARGES) (Madera, CA) — Led by the State of California through the California Energy Commission, this project focuses on providing critical power backup for an acute care hospital and enhancing resiliency in a region susceptible to power outages due to various factors.
Additionally, DOE has introduced six projects as part of the LDES Lab Call to demonstrate technology innovations and resiliency advantages in national labs at varying scales. DOE has also launched the Collaborative Alignment for Critical Technology Industries lab call to establish an LDES industry working group, bringing together stakeholders across the value chain to address commercialization challenges and develop recommendations and best practices for resolving them.