Innovation and energy justice are at the forefront of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) mission. As part of that effort, on September 23, DOE launched its Energy Storage for Social Equity Initiative (ES4SE), a $9 million effort to help up to 15 underserved and frontline communities leverage energy storage as a means of increasing resilience and maximizing energy flexibility. This funding will promote an equitable clean energy transition, advance more affordable and reliable electricity, and support the Biden Administration’s Justice40 goals.

Nationally, more than 65% of low-income households face a high energy burden and more than 30% of all households experienced some form of energy insecurity, sometimes even foregoing food, medicine, and heating or cooling comfort to pay an energy bill. 

ES4SE, a program managed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), is designed to empower communities to consider energy storage technologies and applications as a viable path towards community prosperity, well-being, and resilience.

The initiative will be organized into two phases, with the first working to help communities better assess their energy challenges, evaluate solutions, and find partners to support the community in meeting its energy goals. Selected urban, rural, and tribal communities will receive technical assistance, equity assessments, and workforce analysis. Technical assistance may include energy, economic, and spatial analysis, as well as assistance to complete grant and funding applications.

The second phase will focus on energy storage project development and deployment, where up to six communities from the 10-15 chosen from the initial Technical Assistance phase will be selected to begin installing and commissioning their projects. Engineering support may include equipment sizing, identifying utility connections, identifying safety concerns, installation support, and measurement, and validation to ensure project performance meets the original goals.

ES4SE is designed around easy access and eligibility is linked to need.  

Brief applications are due by December 3, 2021 at 5 pm Pacific Time.