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Advanced energy storage is crucial to the next evolution of the nation’s electrical grid, and the Office of Electricity (OE) is committed to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) effort to create and sustain America’s global leadership in energy storage development. Grid storage enables energy stakeholders to store excess energy in times of surplus and then provide electricity to the grid when needed later. Batteries and other energy storage technologies that have the capability to both supply and absorb electrical power (bidirectional electrical energy storage) can provide flexibility by balancing electrical supply and demand. Advances in energy storage technologies can help power plants operate more efficiently and at a constant level, store excess electricity produced from intermittent renewable sources, stabilize the cost of electricity, and bolster grid resilience and emergency preparedness.

This year DOE and OE, building off the technology advances and other achievements to date, are taking significant steps to improve energy storage with the introduction of the Energy Storage Grand Challenge and the publication of a report titled "Potential Benefits of High-Power High Capacity Batteries."

Launching the Energy Storage Grand Challenge

In January, DOE announced a cross-cutting effort to create and sustain America’s global leadership in energy storage use, production, and exports, while using a secure, domestic manufacturing supply chain that does not depend on foreign sources of critical materials. The Energy Storage Grand Challenge is managed by the DOE’s Research and Technology Investment Committee (RTIC). DOE established the RTIC in 2019 to convene the key elements of DOE that support research and development (R&D) activities, coordinate strategic research priorities, and identify potential cross-cutting opportunities in both basic and applied science and technology. The Energy Storage Subcommittee of the RTIC is co-chaired by OE along with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and will focus R&D across the applied energy offices and other offices within the Department.

As part of an extensive outreach process, DOE will release a request for information soliciting stakeholder feedback on the key questions and issues the challenge seeks to address. In the coming weeks, DOE will host a series of workshops with stakeholders to share information about various storage technologies, understand current barriers to deployment, and help shape the work that will bring those technologies to market.

Collaborative engagement with internal and external stakeholders will inform the development of a coordinated energy storage roadmap for a broad suite of technologies by 2030. The roadmap will be guided by a set of use cases that describe ambitious grid applications that can be accomplished with advancements in these technologies.

OE Releases New Battery Report

This month OE also released a report titled "Potential Benefits of High-Power High-Capacity Batteries." The report describes opportunities for high-power, high-capacity batteries to increase the resilience of the U.S. electric power system and to help integrate higher levels of variable renewable energy. By describing the opportunities in terms of grid services and dimensional requirements, the report aims to align system needs with the storage options best suited to fill those needs. Research aimed at increasing the energy density or capacity of flow batteries and other technologies using low-cost earth-abundant materials seeks to enable these systems to provide longer duration services like time-shifting of renewable resources, while also continuing to support grid stability.

The report includes efforts by DOE, industry, and other grid stakeholders to improve an understanding of battery capabilities, validate new storage applications, and pursue opportunities to develop advanced technology solutions. These efforts include studies of adoption scenarios, technology gaps, the effect of policies, and the current market and regulatory landscape. In describing the energy storage ecosystem, the report aims to increase available options and help policymakers connect emerging opportunities with an appropriate set of solutions.

OE is leading efforts to develop the next generation of high-capacity, high-power stationary batteries to support the long-term resilience needs for the U.S. grid. Additionally, the North American Energy Resilience Model (NAERM) is advancing the Nation’s understanding of the strategic use and placement of energy storage systems, including batteries, within the energy sector. The comprehensive resilience model developed under the NAERM offers an analytical framework of the resilience risks within the energy sector and defines contingency scenarios where energy storage systems can help mitigate these risks. This information will help better define the valuation of energy storage systems beyond the services battery storage provides today.