Grid energy storage is a key to modernizing the power grid and unlocking a broad array of economic and societal benefits. Further adoption of grid energy storage will require the accelerated development and testing of new energy storage technologies that are more cost-effective, safe, and durable.
DOE’s Office of Electricity selected Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington, as the site for a national grid energy storage research and development (R&D) facility that includes investments from the State of Washington, Battelle, and PNNL. On March 10, 2021, DOE announced the beginning of the design and construction phase of development. During this new phase, PNNL will select a contractor and begin working toward the start of construction, which could begin late this year. The building is expected to be operational and ready for occupancy by 2025.
The new Grid Storage Launchpad (GSL) will help to overcome challenges in battery R&D capabilities. These new capabilities include:
- Independent testing and validation for next generation energy storage materials, devices, and prototype systems under grid operating conditions;
- Characterization abilities focused on technologies with grid applications; and
- Integration of existing materials development and collaboration with industry and universities.
Through independent testing and validation, the GSL will develop and promulgates rigorous grid performance standards and requirements that span the entire energy storage R&D development cycle — from basic materials synthesis to advanced prototyping. The GSL will focus on three outcomes to advance grid energy storage development:
- Collaboration: Bringing DOE, multidisciplinary researchers, and industry together at the facility will lower the barriers to innovation and deployment of grid-scale energy storage.
- Validation: The facility will enable independent testing of next generation grid energy storage materials and systems under realistic grid operating conditions.
- Acceleration: From bench top to systems, the facility will de-risk and speed the development of new technologies by propagating rigorous performance requirements.
The GSL will help ensure the Department succeeds in strengthening the resilience of the grid to withstand the tests and challenges of the future, while ensuring that Americans continue to enjoy the benefits of our Nation’s energy abundance.
The GSL also supports DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge, which draws on the extensive research capabilities of the DOE National Laboratories, universities, and industry to accelerate the development of energy-storage technologies and sustain American global leadership in the energy storage technologies of the future with a secure domestic manufacturing supply chain.