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E&E News: DOE rolls out competition for long-duration energy storage

Posted by David Iaconangelo on Nov 15, 2022

E&E News covered DOE's nearly $350 million for energy storage demonstrations, quoting Ryan Katofsky on the technology gap that needs to be filled. Read snippets below and the full article here.

The Energy Department launched a competition Monday for long-duration energy storage, offering $349 million for successful demonstrations of a technology widely seen as crucial to a carbon-free grid.

New energy storage projects — particularly lithium-ion batteries — are already mushrooming across the United States, according to market analysts. But the vast majority of commercial options can only discharge power for around four hours or less.

The $349 million opportunity is part of a larger $505 million allocation from last year's bipartisan infrastructure law. Up to 11 demonstrations can win a share of the funds by developing energy storage that delivers power ranging from 10 hours straight to an entire season — while showing promise for a swift reduction in cost...

Grid-connected storage technologies can win individual awards of up to $50 million, while non-grid-connected storage technologies are up for awards worth as much as $30 million. Both must last between 10 to 24 hours.

The aim of the awards is to advance storage concepts that can “overcome the technical and institutional barriers” to a full-blown industry, according to DOE...

"For long-duration storage, there’s a gap to fill," said Ryan Katofsky, managing director of Advanced Energy Economy, a clean energy advocacy group. "We don't have products that are as commercially well-developed as for shorter durations."

Emerging technologies tend to be expensive in part because they simply aren't produced at scale yet, said Katofsky. And new forms of storage might find it hard to break into regional grids due to unfavorable market rules, he added.

"For any new technology, there are a host of things that need to be overcome," he said...

Federal researchers have long believed that long-term energy storage could transform the country's grids. Renewable energy is variable, with output depending on the amount of wind or sun. But if a technology could store energy for weeks or months, then it could rival the grid reliability of fossil fuels...

"If you look at what the contours of what a fully decarbonized grid is going to look like down the road, we’re going to need this as an option," Katofsky said.

But there is little consensus as to which storage technologies are best suited for the task. In recent years, DOE has spent over a billion dollars in research and development funds for storage, with much of it going toward electric vehicle batteries and hydrogen.

Read the full article here.

Topics: AEE In The News, Ryan Katofsky