The Office of Electricity (OE) leads the Department’s efforts to ensure the nation’s critical energy infrastructure is secure and able to recover rapidly from disruptions. Below are some of OE’s recent accomplishments. To learn more about how OE is harnessing innovation for a reliable, resilient, secure, and affordable North American energy system, visit the OE website’s blog and News section.
OE scoped and co-chairs a new Energy Storage Task Force, which was announced at COP 28 on Dec. 13. OE funds the group under the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy. In addition, DOE launched a Clean Energy Ministerial on Supercharging Global Battery Storage Deployment at COP28.
OE advanced energy storage technologies with the Energy Storage Demonstration and Validation FOA. These projects will support the Rapid Operational Validation Initiative (ROVI), which uses data sets generated by AI and machine learning.
We hosted the Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC) Summit in Atlanta. There, OE announced more than $30 million in awards and funding opportunities, including two $15 million FOAs for energy storage innovations. In addition, OE awarded 10 nascent companies $300,000 through the Storage Innovations Prize to promote early-stage technologies.
Through the Storage Innovation 2030:Technology Liftoff, OE announced plans to award (up to) $5 million for 3 projects to tackle R&D challenges in storage technology industries. This Liftoff effort also included the release of 10 technology strategy documents.
Under the Long Duration Energy Storage Earthshot, OE selected two companies to receive $19 million for Long-Duration Energy Storage projects to demonstrate how energy storage can lower electricity bills and increase power resiliency in remote communities and military housing in Vermont and Kansas.
Testing new grid technologies is accelerated by the opening of OE’s Grid Storage Launchpad. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is home to OE’s new $75M national grid energy storage R&D facility.
- OE conducted a recruitment campaign to hire 22 individuals with the technical and policy-oriented skills to achieve OE’s mission. Across OE, 60% of the staff hold post-graduate degrees and OE’s workforce of 48 employees is also growing to resemble the face of the American population. Besides achieving 100% of our hiring goals, OE’s highest hiring priority was filling two senior leadership positions. Eric Hsieh was hired as our Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Energy Storage and Gil Bindewald as the DAS of Grid Controls and Communications and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. Our Assistant Secretary, Gene Rodrigues, was confirmed in January.
- OE sponsored an energy storage entrepreneur for a 2-year fellowship as part of the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Lab Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP). OE also partnered with the Office of Science on the Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (RENEW) program to support internships that broaden accessibility and training for emerging student researchers from historically underrepresented groups. Research goals include broadening understanding of innovative energy storage materials.
- OE participated in 5 Historically Black College University and Minority Serving Institutions career fairs. OE also hosted a summer intern through the Minority Educational Institute Student Partnership Program.
OE advanced DOE’s energy justice goals by issuing an Underserved and Indigenous Community $14.7 million funding opportunity. This funding will bring microgrids to indigenous communities in remote regions that enable the integration of renewables and energy storage. The FOA also included opportunities to address the lack of local technical expertise and supply chain challenges.
OE launched the (RADIANCE) microgrid project with Cordova Electric Cooperative. This investment not only supports a tribal community, but it also further advances renewable energy and battery storage in remote communities. Lessons learned will help more than 800 U.S. electric cooperatives.
Of the $72 million in awards that DOE announced for small businesses pursuing scientific, clean energy, and climate research projects, OE had the highest number of awards to women-owned and disadvantaged businesses.
OE’s launch of the Energy Storage for Social Equity Initiative (ES4SE)’s technical assistance phase provided 14 Native-owned entities, remote communities and those helping with housing with energy storage and related technologies to enhance their facilities. One of the selected communities surrounds the Harambee House in Savannah, Georgia that will get a Battery Energy Storage System for HVAC, refrigeration, lighting, Wi-Fi and phone charging.
Data Analytics and Control
- OE announced its intention to issue a $4.8 million Secure Communications FOA to support technologies that enable secure data and control messaging between utility end use infrastructure and distribution system operators.
- To spur innovation in data analytics, OE launched the $1.85 million Digitizing Utilities Prize Round 2 to connect electric utilities with software developers. This round is awarding prizes for addressing cybersecurity threats. It builds onto Round 1 of the prize, in which three winning teams were awarded $425,000 to transform the energy sector by obtaining insight from grid use.
- OE issued the $10 million High Performance Low-Cost HVDC Converter FOA in coordination with DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office. The funding will enable long distance transmission for offshore wind energy.
- To further HVDC technologies, OE offered the $200,000 HVDC Prize to 4 prize winners. The prize will lead to improved grid integration of renewables and long-distance electricity transmission to large cities.
- OE continues to advance grid modeling through the North American Energy Resilience Model (NAERM), which is developing a resilience modeling system for the North American energy infrastructure.
- OE advanced Grid-enhancing Technologies (GETS) projects to improve grid reliability, optimize infrastructure in existing rights-of-way, and facilitate renewable resource interconnection.
- OE issued a $7 million Grid-Enhancing Data Analytics FOA to encourage data providers and power sector utilities to collaborate on data sensor analytics that will support utility planning and operations decisions.
- OE partnered with EERE to provide $2 million of a $52 million Multi-Topic FOA to support transmission line reconducting to improve the grid’s efficiency and resiliency.
- OE is leading a Distribution Transformer Working Group of electric utility and manufacturing representatives to analyze manufacturing processes related to the national shortage of distribution transformers. This group will address supply chain issues needed to manufacture these critical pieces of grid equipment.