Announced in January 2020 by US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, the Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC) is a comprehensive program to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage. The Draft Roadmap outlines a Department-wide strategy to accelerate innovation across a range of storage technologies based on three concepts: Innovate Here, Make Here, Deploy Everywhere.
Categories of storage included in the Energy Storage Grand Challenge
Over the Fiscal Years 2017-2019, DOE has invested more than $1.2 billion into energy storage research and development (R&D)—$400 million per year—on average establishing an agency-wide, long-term strategy to address energy storage. The vision for the ESGC is, by 2030, to create and sustain US global leadership in energy storage utilization and exports, with a secure domestic manufacturing base and supply chain that is independent of foreign sources of critical materials. The Draft Roadmap provides planned activities for each of the ESGC five tracks:
The Technology Development Track will focus DOE’s ongoing and future energy storage R&D around user-centric goals and long-term leadership. This R&D strategy consists of three components: use cases; technology portfolios; and development pathways.
The Manufacturing and Supply Chain Track will work to strengthen the domestic production of energy storage technologies by accelerating the scale-up of innovations produced by the successes of the Technology Development Track, lowering the cost of manufacturing energy storage technologies, and decreasing reliance on foreign sources of critical materials. To accomplish these goals, the Manufacturing and Supply Chain Track will pursue five types of activities, in coordination with industry and other ESGC tracks.
The Technology Transition Track will strengthen US leadership in energy storage through the commercialization of energy storage innovations. This will be accomplished through the development of proactive field validation, public-private partnerships, bankable business models, financing, technology and interconnection standards, contract standards, and the dissemination of high-quality market data. These mechanisms will enable the commercialization, private sector financing, and deployment of energy storage technologies. Such work gives market participants confidence that an energy storage asset will perform to expectations and have market demand, thus reducing production or project risk, lowering project costs, increasing investment, and accelerating scalable deployment.
The Policy and Valuation Track will provide tools, analysis, and recommendations that maximize the value of energy storage to the electric and transportation systems, driving US leadership in the innovation, manufacturing, and deployment of energy storage technologies. While other ESGC tracks support energy storage technologies, projects, and companies, the Policy and Valuation Track focuses on providing support to decision-makers, who are looking to optimize the power or energy system as a whole.
The track will leverage DOE’s unique analytical capabilities, data, and computing resources to enhance the technical characterization of energy storage technologies, develop more sophisticated tools, and deliver a program of systematic, coordinated institutional support targeting key stakeholder needs. The track will be continuously updated and informed by the evolving challenges and concerns of the policy, regulatory, and planning bodies who need them most.
The Workforce Development Track will focus DOE’s technical education and workforce development programs to leverage existing resources to train and educate the workforce, who can then research, develop, design, manufacture and operate energy storage systems widely within US industry. To ensure a proper focus, DOE will continue to solicit feedback from relevant stakeholders on workforce development issues through ongoing stakeholder engagement across a broad spectrum of energy-storage related industries. DOE will assess existing education and workforce development programs in areas of energy storage and the related technologies to see where gaps exist and where DOE can initiate, grow, or focus these programs. These opportunities will span a wide range of educational and focus levels from scientists to engineers to trades.
Additionally, the Draft Roadmap identifies six use cases derived from high-level energy or infrastructure goals of communities, businesses, and regions, which will be translated into a set of technology-neutral functional requirements.
The ESGC use case topics include facilitating an evolving grid, serving remote communities, electrified mobility, interdependent network infrastructure, critical services, and facility flexibility, efficiency and value enhancement. These broad specifications will help identify new and augmented research and development paths for a portfolio of energy storage and flexibility technologies that meet emerging needs.
This Draft Roadmap focuses on three key challenges, applied to each of the five tracks, to ensure that the US sustains global leadership in energy storage:
Innovate Here – How can DOE enable the United States to lead in energy storage R&D and retain IP developed through DOE investment in the United States?
Make Here – How can DOE work to lower the cost and energy impact of manufacturing existing technologies, and strengthen domestic supply chains by reducing dependence on foreign sources of materials and components?
Deploy Everywhere – How can DOE work with relevant stakeholders to develop technologies that meet our domestic usage needs and enable the United States to not only successfully deploy technologies in domestic markets but also export technologies?
DOE is requesting information from stakeholders to inform the suite of activities proposed in the Draft Roadmap through a formal RFI. Responses to this RFI will be due 21 August 2020.