DOE Commences a Program to Cut the Cost of Long-Duration Energy Storage by 90% in a Decade

published: 2021-09-22 9:30 | category: News

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced in July that it is commencing the “Long Duration Storage Shot” that will lower the cost of utility-scale, long-duration energy storage by 90% within 10 years. Long Duration Storage Shot is the second program established under the DOE’s wider strategy known as the “Energy Earthshots Initiative”. It will fund R&D efforts at national labs, set up demonstration energy storage projects, and support domestic manufacturing of energy storage systems. By doing so, the US government hopes to make rapid progress in the development of key energy storage technologies that, in turn, enable diverse, reliable, and economical renewable generation solutions. The Biden Administration has set the goals of 100% clean electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

In an official statement about the program, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that regional grids in the US will be incorporating hundreds of GW of clean energy in the next several years, so there have to be means to effectively use that energy. The short-duration energy storage systems that are being deployed across the country complement the current generation of renewable generation systems. Nevertheless, long-duration energy storage systems (i.e., those that can discharge for 10 or more hours) will be needed in the future as the installed capacity of renewable generation systems expands. Furthermore, these larger and more efficient energy storage systems will also support traditional generation facilities such as thermal and nuclear power plants.

In working toward the goal of reducing the cost of long-duration energy storage by 90%, the DOE is considering all kinds of technologies including electrochemical, thermal, mechanical, etc. It also backs the development of solutions that combine different technologies so as to meet the duration and cost requirements for enabling grid flexibility. Interestingly, the DOE stated that lithium-ion batteries are the primary short-duration energy storage technology, whereas pumped-storage hydropower accounts for the largest share of the long-duration energy storage capacity in the US.

The Long Duration Storage Shot is also an offshoot from the Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap, which provides an outline on how various federal agencies and stakeholders will be working in concert to expedite the commercialization of advanced energy storage technologies and scale up domestic manufacturing of related hardware. The budget request from the Biden Administration for the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 includes US$1.16 billion for the Long Duration Storage Shot and the Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap. The Congressional approval for this appropriation will allow the federal government and the private sector to work together to not only overcome the technical and cost barriers to the development of energy storage technologies but also establish a domestic energy storage industry. Ultimately, the program aims to help the US achieve its climate targets and improve its economic competitiveness.

The first program launched under the Energy Earthshots Initiative is the “Hydrogen Shot” that aims to lower the cost of green hydrogen by 80% to the level of US$1 per kilogram within 10 years. The Hydrogen Shot formally commenced in June, and the Biden Administration is requesting US$400 million for the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 to fund the program.

To make the US a global leader in energy storage, the DOE appears to have formulated a comprehensive strategy to hasten the development, commercialization, and application of advanced energy storage technologies. Going forward, the agency will organize events to engage with communities, enterprises, and other stakeholders. A “Long Duration Storage Shot Summit” will be held on September 22, which will also coincide with the “World Energy Storage Day”.

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