The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released nearly $350 million for emerging long-duration energy storage (LDES) demonstration projects capable of delivering electricity for 10 to 24 hours or longer to support a low-cost, reliable, carbon-free electric grid.
The funding opportunity will advance new renewable energy technologies, enhance the capabilities of customers and communities to integrate grid storage more effectively, increase grid resilience, and more.
“Advancing energy storage technologies is key to making energy generated from clean renewable resources—like wind and solar—available for 24/7 use, and is critical to achieving a decarbonized power grid and reaching President Biden’s ambitious climate goals,” says U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE is taking huge steps to lower the cost and increase the duration of energy storage technologies so that clean, reliable, affordable electricity is available whenever and wherever to everyone, especially Americans living in remote and underserved communities.”
As the U.S. moves toward a carbon-free electric grid that relies more on diverse renewable energy generation, the need for reliable LDES that can supply enough energy for long periods of time and during periods when energy generation is reduced or unavailable becomes more essential. Today’s energy storage technologies are not sufficiently scaled or affordable to support the broad use of renewable energy on the electrical grid. Cheaper, longer duration energy storage can increase community involvement in local power systems, build resilience for communities, and minimize power grid disruptions.
The LDES Demonstrations Program will be managed by DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) and will fund nearly $350 million for up to 11 demonstration projects—projects that will contribute to the department-wide goal of reducing the cost of grid-scale energy storage by 90% within the decade. DOE will fund up to 50% of the cost of each project to catalyze impactful LDES demonstrations and open enormous new possibilities for clean, baseload power. The program aims to fund projects that will overcome the technical and institutional barriers that exist for full-scale deployment of LDES systems by focusing on a range of different technology types for a diverse set of regions.
To ensure these projects create good jobs and benefits for communities, the funding announcement includes a community benefits plan from each applicant. Community benefits plans are based on a set of four core policy priorities: investing in America’s workforce; engaging communities and labor; advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and implementing the Justice40 Initiative. These key principles, when incorporated comprehensively into project proposals and executed upon, will help de-risk these projects to ensure that the transition to a clean energy economy benefits all Americans.
Letters of intent are due by December 15, and full applications are due by March 3, 2023. Additional funding opportunities may follow this announcement to validate and accelerate commercialization of LDES technologies.
In October, DOE issued a $30 million Lab Call Announcement for Long-Duration Energy Storage Demonstrations. Remaining funding for LDES programs will be covered at a later date.