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article imageEnergy storage grows by 200 percent in U.S.

By Karen Graham     Sep 19, 2018 in Technology
Thanks to a thriving renewable energy sector in the U.S., energy storage — the batteries or other technologies that can store energy for at least four hours or even longer — has grown an astounding 200 percent year-over-year.
Wood Mackenzie partners with the Energy Storage Association to produce a quarterly report called the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor. The latest report is just out.
It's interesting that while the White House has been vigorously promoting a pro-coal strategy, the US Department of Energy has been quietly promoting wind and solar grid integration., in particular, energy storage along with smart grid technology. That includes small-scale, distributed storage as well as utility-scale, long duration storage.
And while long-term energy storage may be a little ways off in the future - as of last year, the largest form of grid energy storage is dammed hydroelectricity, with both conventional hydroelectric generation as well as pumped storage - the technologies are being developed with funding from the Department of Energy and a number of national labs.
The Chief Joseph Dam on the Columbia River in Washington state.
Picture taken June  1973.
The Chief Joseph Dam on the Columbia River in Washington state. Picture taken June, 1973.
David Falconer
But it is the business sector that has taken the steer by the horns, making use of small-scale batteries to ensure resiliency and reliability at individual sites. So, for that matter, is the Department of Defense.
Clean Technica reported in June this year that the US Army is behind a new research project at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory that aims to develop lithium-ion batteries that could last three times longer than what we have now with the potential for use in forward operating bases.
The Wood Mackenzie breakdown
The report states: "156.5 megawatt-hours of energy storage were deployed in the second quarter of 2018, triple what was deployed in the second quarter of 2017. The residential segment led the way, growing tenfold year-over-year." Yes, they said tenfold.
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The sonnen Puerto Rico Energy Security Initiative (PRESI) is well underway. Sonnen has donated 15 micro-grids to support community sites around the island and is currently in Puerto Rico working with local partner, Pura Energia to install the micro-grid systems.
Sonnen
And it should come as no surprise that Hawaii and California lead the way in the growth in residential energy storage. However, Wood MacKenzie is predicting Arizona and Massachusetts could vie for a spot in the top three alongside California and Hawaii, particularly when you factor in wind, solar and energy storage.
Interestingly, while Arizona has been very conservative in its policies toward renewable energy, it is the nation’s number three state for installed solar capacity — a huge jump from the number seven spot last year. And while Massachusetts is diving into offshore wind resources, New York state is also coming up on the pack with an ambitious new clean power plan that also includes offshore wind.
What about long-term storage?
A report released in December 2013 by the DOE described the potential benefits of energy storage and demand-side technologies to the electric grid: “Modernizing the electric system will help the nation meet the challenge of handling projected energy needs—including addressing climate change by integrating more energy from renewable sources and enhancing efficiency from non-renewable energy processes."
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The fifth HPC4Mfg Program solicitation seeks concept papers that spur the use of national lab supercomputing resources and expertise to advance innovation in clean energy technology.
HPC4Mfg projects
So while the lithium-ion battery and its storage potential have become well known, the need for solutions to longer-term storage capacity have met with a number of failures. According to Greem Tech Media, in the last 18 months, Aquion has run out of cash for its saltwater batteries, Alevo closed down its mystery long-duration lithium-ion project, LightSail folded its compressed air storage business, and ViZn Energy had to lay off all but two staff while it seeks new funding for its flow battery.
So with more and more people turning to renewable energy, long-term storage is critical to the future of our electrical grid. To get things off to a good start, the Department of Energy has announced $148 million in funding for two separate initiatives aimed at advancing research into energy storage technologies.
The DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program announced awards totaling just over $28 million for 10 projects that aim to increase the duration of energy storage systems up to 100 hours.
The sonnenBatterie eco is an energy storage solution for your home that uses intelligent software to...
The sonnenBatterie eco is an energy storage solution for your home that uses intelligent software to manage energy throughout the day - saving you money, providing backup power and enabling you to use your solar power at night.
Sonnen
This will be an opportunity for those involved in long-term storage projects to get funding for research and development of systems “that are deployable in almost any location."
The DOE also said it would provide $120 million over five years to renew funding for the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) program that does research and development on new battery materials. This program is led by the Argonne National Laboratory. JCESR's research will focus on understanding matter at the atomic and molecular levels in an effort to develop multivalent battery designs.
"Improvements in battery performance are paramount to the future of both transportation and the electric grid," DOE Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar said in a statement.
More about Doe, Energy storage, Renewable energy, longduration energy storage, Technology