This week, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the Energy Storage Grand Challenge - a comprehensive program to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage technologies.
Storage improvements are vital for bringing high levels of renewables onto power grids and improving the performance and cost-competitiveness of electric vehicles and the DOE is looking to leverage department-wide expertise to spur advances in energy storage, drive them into the market and ensure U.S. industry reaps the benefits.
The effort will look at a range of technologies — new and improved battery chemistries, advancements in pumped hydro storage, thermal storage with molten salt, hydrogen and more.
It has five big goals over the next decade, per the summary:
Technology development with "ambitious, achievable" performance goals.
Technology transfer to speed up the process of moving from research to system design to use in the private sector.
Policy and valuation to enable the "most effective value proposition and use cases for storage technologies."
Bolstering the U.S. manufacturing and supply chain for storage technologies.
Workforce training to help U.S. workers "meet the needs of the 21st century electric grid and energy storage value chain."
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It's not clear how much will be spent specifically on the new program. But Love said DOE's fiscal year 2020 spending on storage initiatives overall should be consistent with the average of roughly $400 million annually over the last three fiscal years. She declined to speculate on funding in subsequent years.