Answering The Call For Long-Duration Energy Storage
“may day”’ call this year came from the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE made a $30 million funding commitment to long-term energy solutions through its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) office. “Long-term,” as defined in the project scope, starts at 10 hours and extends up to 100 hours of stored energy.
Funding from the new program called DAYS (Duration Addition to electricitY Storage) is open to any technology able to meet siting, output, and cycle requirements. And the solution must deliver an average cost of 5¢/kWh cycle across the range of storage durations.
Why Fund Energy Storage
The shift to renewable energy continues, despite uncertainty about the direction of U.S. policy under the current administration.
¤ Non-hydro renewable energy generation increased +15% in 2017 with wind and solar capacity reaching 143 GW, a 431% increase in the last decade.
¤ And a recent survey of North American utility companies from Utility Dive shows sector leaders remain bullish about the growth of renewable sources. Results shown in the table below indicate the industry recognizes the transformation cannot be implemented without energy storage:
The anticipated growth reflects current commitments to cleaner energy by leading U.S. utility companies.
¤ Consumers Energy in Michigan: 40% renewable energy by 2040.
¤ National Grid in the Northeast: 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 (vs. 1990).
¤ Xcel Energy in the Central U.S.: 40% renewables by 2021, 60% by 2030.
¤ Ameren Missouri: Increase wind power to 700 mw by 2020 and solar to 50 mw by 2025.
¤ Duke Energy in the Southeast and Midwest: 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.
¤ Southern California Edison: 80% solar, wind, hydro power by 2030.
¤ American Electric Power in the Southeast and Midwest: 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 (vs. 2000).
¤ MidAmerican Energy in Iowa: 95% renewable energy by 2021.
¤ WEC Energy Group in Wisconsin: 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030
¤ DTE Energy in Michigan: At least 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.
¤ First Energy in the Mid Atlantic: At least 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2045 (vs. 2005).
U.S. corporations are also pursuing renewable energy, with 40 organizations signing the RE100 initiative to source 100% renewable energy by a designated year. The companies are also encouraging use of renewable energy within their supply chains. Several organizations are ahead of the curve:
¤ In April 2018, Apple shifted to 100% renewable electricity to power its facilities in 43 countries.
¤ Kellogg delivers 20% renewable electricity internationally and expects to achieve 40% renewable by 2020.
¤ Microsoft has been powered by 100% renewable energy since 2014.
At the local level, California became the first U.S. state mandating solar panels on most new homes built after January 1, 2020. The requirement is part of Governor Jerry Brown’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 40% in the next 12 years. Importantly, the initiative fuels the continued growth of residential solar, helping it evolve into a building standard, and a practice adopted by other U.S. states.
Not surprisingly, California is also a global leader in the use of energy storage. Although progress has been slower than planned, California represents about 90% of U.S. non-residential storage capacity.
The scientific community echoes the confidence of utility and commercial companies in non-hydro renewable energy. A recent report shows 80% of U.S. electricity demand could be met with solar and wind power, according to researchers from the University of California—Irvine, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and the California Institute of Technology. To handle the variance in the availability of solar and wind, systems capable of storing several weeks of power would be required.
The Power & Potential of Flow Batteries for Energy Storage
Although lithium-ion batteries have benchmarked storage solutions, the capacity requirement outlined in the DAYS program opens the door to new technologies.