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U.S. Department of Energy Releases Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap

Energy Storage Grand Challenge

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On December 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap, which represents the Department’s first comprehensive energy storage strategy.  Announced in January 2020 by U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, the Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC) seeks to create and sustain American leadership in energy storage.

  • Download a PDF of the Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap HERE.

In addition to concerted research efforts, the Roadmap’s approach includes accelerating the transition of technologies from the lab to the marketplace, focusing on ways to competitively manufacture technologies at scale in the United States, and ensuring secure supply chains to enable domestic manufacturing.  The Roadmap includes an aggressive but achievable goal: to develop and domestically manufacture energy storage technologies that can meet all U.S. market demands by 2030.

“Energy storage has an important role to play in our Nation’s energy future,” said Secretary Brouillette. “DOE worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders and partners to develop this actionable Roadmap to help bring promising energy storage technologies to market and position the United States as a global leader in energy storage solutions.”

DOE is also releasing two companion ESGC reports:  the 2020 Grid Energy Storage Technology Cost and Performance Assessment and the Energy Storage Market Report 2020. These reports provide data that informed the Roadmap and provide accessible and easily referenced information for the entire energy stakeholder community.

The Roadmap outlines a Department-wide strategy to accelerate innovation across a range of storage technologies based on three concepts:

  • Innovate Here
  • Make Here
  • Deploy Everywhere

Recognizing the breadth of storage technologies and the ambitious nature of the goal, the DOE has identified initial cost targets focused on user-centric applications with substantial growth potential. With six use cases that identify energy storage applications, benefits and functional requirements for 2030 and beyond, the ESGC has identified cost and performance targets, which include:

  • $0.05/kWh levelized cost of storage for long-duration stationary applications, a 90 percent reduction from 2020 baseline costs by 2030. Achieving this levelized cost target would facilitate commercial viability for storage across a wide range of uses including: meeting load during periods of peak demand, grid preparation for fast charging of electric vehicles, and applications to ensure reliability of critical services.
    • Other emerging applications for stationary storage include serving remote communities, increasing facility flexibility, increasing the resilience of interdependent networks, and facilitating the transformation of the power system.
  • $80/kWh manufactured cost for a battery pack by 2030 for a 300-mile range electric vehicle, a 44 percent reduction from the current cost of $143 per rated kWh. Achieving this cost target would lead to cost competitive electric vehicles and could benefit the production, performance, and safety of batteries for stationary applications.

The ESGC employs a use case framework to ensure that storage technologies can cost effectively meet specific needs and incorporates a broad range of technologies in several categories: electrochemical, electromechanical, thermal, flexible generation, flexible buildings and power electronics.

U.S. leadership in energy storage requires an approach that enables American firms to compete in markets around the world.  The ESGC provides information and analysis on demand outside the United States and identifies related opportunities for domestic energy storage manufacturing.

The DOE will engage with the U.S. Department of Commerce and other federal agencies to locate competitive international markets for U.S. firms and develop strategies that ensure sustained U.S. competitiveness in this high-growth sector.

Increased renewable energy generation and a decrease in battery storage costs have led to a stronger global focus on energy storage solutions and grid flexibility services. Energy storage offers an opportunity to identify the most cost-effective technologies for increasing grid reliability, resilience and demand management.

Where are Some Energy Storage and Testing Facilities Located?

The Energy Security Grand Challenge leverages the expertise of the full spectrum of DOE offices and the capabilities of its National Labs.  These facilities enable independent testing, verification, and demonstration of energy storage technologies, allowing them to enter the market more quickly.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Grid Storage Launchpad

The DOE is planning to begin construction in 2021 on the $75 million Grid Storage Launchpad at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington.  Designed as a resource hub for the development of next-generation grid energy storage technologies, the R&D facility will provide labs for basic materials synthesis and processing, in-operando characterization, small-scale cell fabrication, kilowatt-scale testing and validation, advanced prototyping, visualization, and analysis. The project will also support the creation of rigorous performance requirements and standards for all stages of grid development.


The Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) research platform aims to de-risk, optimize, and secure current energy systems and to provide insight into the design and operation of future energy systems.  ARIES, located at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is a unique DOE asset that integrates real physical equipment and devices and emulated devices in hardware-in-the-loop experiments supported by high-performance computing. The research platform supports full experimentation of integrated energy systems at a scale that replicates real world scenarios.  ARIES engages with partner institutions to increase impact and leverage the spectrum of energy experimentation assets across the DOE lab complex, industry, and academia.  ARIES addresses the fundamental challenges for integrated energy systems at scale of:

  • Variability in the physical size of new energy technologies being added to our energy infrastructure
  • Controlling large numbers (millions to tens of millions) of interconnected devices
  • Integrating multiple diverse technologies that have not previously worked together

The ARIES platform leverages existing capabilities at NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) which operate at up to the 2-MW level and 13.2kV, and the Integrated Energy Systems at Scale (IESS) capabilities at its Flatirons Campus which operate at up to the 20-MW level and 115kV.

Integrating the capabilities at the Grid Storage Launch pad at PNNL and ARIES into an end-to-end research pathway for advanced energy storage will allow the seamless transition between early stage and large scale validation. Partners will benefit from this comprehensive structure, as it provides a one-stop resource for a spectrum of energy storage research. This holistic integration of storage validation capabilities also directly supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC) efforts to develop common metrics for all storage systems (electrical, thermal, chemical, etc.) that enable the end user to accurately assess the value of selected storage systems under their use conditions.

What About Marine and Ocean Energy Research?

On December 22, 2020, the DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) announced 10 project selections totaling up to $22 million to support marine energy research and development (R&D) and testing infrastructure. Seven out of the 10 projects selected will leverage the expertise and intellectual capital of non-federal research institutions, like universities, by supporting foundational R&D to complement research at the DOE National Labs.

“For industry to move toward commercialization, we need to utilize all of our available resources,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel R Simmons. “With this funding opportunity, we addressed several critical gaps in the marine energy industry to advance early-stage R&D and build testing infrastructure, as well as foster collaboration among non-federal research entities.”

As the marine energy industry continues to grow and mature, there is an ongoing need for testing at all stages of technological development to continue to advance marine energy technologies towards commercialization. DOE is adding a fourth National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NMREC) to its portfolio in the U.S. Atlantic region, complementing and expanding existing NMREC capacity.  Additionally, DOE is funding another infrastructure project to fill a specific gap in testing capabilities for current energy converters that can accommodate rotors as large as 8 meters in diameter. This type of capability is important to advance tidal and ocean current energy converters.

Finally, DOE is enlisting the support of a Foundational Research Network Facilitator to foster collaboration and to help closely coordinate and prioritize research—among universities and other research entities, developers, and potential end-users—to maximize R&D impact and meet industry needs.

Spanning the United States, WPTO selected the following projects for negotiations:

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute: Open Wave-Energy Control System Development Platform
  • Oregon State University: Co-Design of Marine Energy Converters for Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Docking and Recharging
  • Tufts University: Wave Energy Technology Assessment for Optimal Grid Integration and Blue Economy Advancement
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks: Modeling the Integration of Marine Energy into Microgrids
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: New Blade Materials for Marine Energy Converters Operating in Highly Turbulent Currents
  • University of  Maine: Research and Development of Additive Manufacturing Technologies for Marine Energy Systems
  • University of Washington: A Unified Multiphysics Approach for Modeling, Control, and Optimization of Wave Energy Converters
  • University of New Hampshire: Atlantic Marine Energy Center (AMEC) for Advancing the Marine Renewable Energy Industry and Powering the Blue Economy
  • Pacific Ocean Energy Trust: Foundational Research Network Facilitator (FRNF): Marine Energy Knowledge Hub
  • IDOM Incorporated: Current Energy Converters Mobile Testing Vessel

These investments will further accelerate marine energy innovation by tackling complex scientific and technical issues facing industry today. By expanding its network of research organizations and testing infrastructure, as well as enhancing its facilitation and coordination with research partners, DOE has a greater opportunity to maximize its impact across a range of issues important to the advancement of marine energy. Learn more about these projects on the WPTO website.

Additional Energy Storage Reports and Data

The following DOE resources provide information on a broad range of storage technologies.


Battery Storage

ARPA-E’s Duration Addition to electricity Storage (DAYS)

HydroWIRES (Water Innovation for a Resilient Electricity System) Initiative