DOE publishes first comprehensive energy storage strategy

Published on December 23, 2020 by Chris Galford

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released this week the Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap, the department’s first attempt to plot a future for U.S. energy storage strategy.

The roadmap resulted from the Energy Storage Grand Challenge, announced at the beginning of this year. That program is meant to hasten the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage technologies by 2030. Beyond research, the roadmap also pushes for the transition of technologies from lab to marketplace, domestic manufacturing at scale, and the building of supply chains focused on domestic manufacturing.

“Energy storage has an important role to play in our Nation’s energy future,” Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said. “DOE worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders and partners to develop this actionable Roadmap to help bring promising energy storage technologies to market and position the United States as a global leader in energy storage solutions.”

The roadmap focuses on user-centric applications with growth potential and identifies initial cost targets associated with them. It lays out six use cases and targets cost and performance targets, including a 90 percent reduction of costs from the 2020 baseline for long-duration stationary applications and carving a 44 percent reduction out of the current $143 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for a 300-mile range electric vehicle. This would put 2030 electric vehicles at a manufacturing cost of $80 per kWh for a battery pack.

The release has garnered praise from the Energy Storage Association (ESA).

“The DOE has issued a well-delineated plan to accelerate the development, demonstration, and deployment of energy storage,” the ESA said in a statement. “By focusing storage valuation, supply chain, and workforce matters as well as technology innovation, the roadmap provides wide-ranging context to guide federal funding and strategic decisions over the next 10 years. It is critical that the Biden/Harris Administration continue to ensure that energy storage is central to a resilient, efficient, affordable, and sustainable power system, and also that we create new jobs and investment in the United States.”

While cost savings are the means, the move’s main goal is to assure U.S. leadership in energy storage as the world moves more toward renewable energy generation. This has been aided by decreased battery storage costs and pushed by growing concerns over climate change. Accordingly, the ESGC also analyses such demand outside the U.S. and identifies similar domestic energy storage manufacturing opportunities. The DOE intends to work with other federal agencies to locate competitive international markets and identify means for the United States to compete.