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DOE launches Energy Storage Grand Challenge

The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Energy Storage Grand Challenge, a comprehensive program to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage technologies. The Grand Challenge builds on the $158-million Advanced Energy Storage Initiative announced in President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request.

The vision for the Energy Storage Grand Challenge is to create and to sustain global leadership in energy storage utilization and exports, with a secure domestic manufacturing supply chain that is independent of foreign sources of critical materials, by 2030.

While research and development (R&D) is the foundation of advancing energy storage technologies, DOE said that it recognizes that global leadership also requires addressing associated challenges.

Using a coordinated suite of R&D funding opportunities, prizes, partnerships, and other programs, the Energy Storage Grand Challenge sets the following goals for the USto reach by 2030:

  • Technology Development: Establish ambitious, achievable performance goals, and a comprehensive R&D portfolio to achieve them;

  • Technology Transfer: Accelerate the technology pipeline from research to system design to private sector adoption through rigorous system evaluation, performance validation, siting tools, and targeted collaborations;

  • Policy and Valuation: Develop best-in-class models, data, and analysis to inform the most effective value proposition and use cases for storage technologies;

  • Manufacturing and Supply Chain: Design new technologies to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and recyclability, and to reduce dependence on foreign sources of critical materials; and

  • Workforce: Train the next generation of American workers to meet the needs of the 21st century electric grid and energy storage value chain.

The Energy Storage Grand Challenge is a cross-cutting effort managed by DOE’s Research and Technology Investment Committee (RTIC). The Department established the RTIC in 2019 to convene the key elements of DOE that support R&D activities, coordinate their strategic research priorities, and identify potential cross-cutting opportunities in both basic and applied science and technology.

In September 2018, Congress passed the “Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act” codifying the efforts of the RTIC. The Energy Storage Subcommittee of the RTIC is co-chaired by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Office of Electricity and includes the Office of Science, Office of Fossil Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, Office of Technology Transitions, ARPA-E, Office of Policy, the Loan Programs Office, and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

As a first step in the Challenge, DOE will soon release requests for information (RFI) soliciting stakeholder feedback on the key questions and issues the Challenge seeks to address. Over the coming weeks, DOE will host also host a series of workshops with key stakeholders to share information about various storage technologies, learn more about current barriers to deployment, and help shape the work that will bring those technologies to market.

This work will inform the development a coordinated R&D roadmap to 2030 for a broad suite of storage and flexibility technologies. This roadmap will be guided by a set of use cases that describe ambitious grid applications that can be accomplished with advancements in these technologies.


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