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DOE releases energy storage challenge; requests stakeholder input

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Credit: Photo by Dragos Gontariu on Unsplash

This week, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC) Draft Roadmap and a Request for Information (RFI), seeking stakeholder input.

Announced in January 2020 by U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, the challenge is a comprehensive program to accelerate development, commercialization and utilization of energy storage. The Draft Roadmap outlines a strategy to accelerate innovation across a range of storage technologies based on three concepts: Innovate Here, Make Here, Deploy Everywhere.

Over the Fiscal Years 2017-2019, DOE has invested over $1.2 billion into energy storage research and development (R&D). ESGC’s vision is to create and sustain U.S. 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:

  1. The Technology Development Track will focus on ongoing and future energy storage R&D.
  2. The Manufacturing and Supply Chain Track will develop technologies, approaches and strategies for U.S. manufacturing.
  3. The Technology Transition Track will work to ensure that DOE’s R&D transitions to domestic markets through field validation, public private partnerships, bankable business model development and the dissemination of high-quality market data. 
  4. The Policy and Valuation Track will provide data, tools and analysis.
  5. The Workforce Development Track will educate the workforce.

Additionally, the Draft Roadmap identifies six use cases derived from high-level energy or infrastructure goals of communities, businesses and regions. 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 topics will help R&D as well as creating flexibility technologies that meet emerging needs.

This Draft Roadmap focuses on three key challenges, applied to each of the five tracks:

  • 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?

“The Energy Storage Grand Challenge leverages the unique, extensive expertise and capabilities of the Department of Energy and our National Labs to really push the envelope when it comes to developing next-generation energy storage,” said Secretary Brouillette.

“The RFI and Draft Roadmap are the culmination of many months of collaboration across DOE’s program offices to address the Nation’s need for resilient, reliable, secure and transformative energy storage solutions,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “The Secretary launched the ESGC earlier this year highlighting the importance of manufacturing these critical technologies in the U.S. so they can be deployed by American industry at home and abroad.”