#Energy Department investing $325M in batteries that can better store clean electricity

The Energy Department will be investing $325 million in batteries that can better store clean energy, it announced Friday. 

The funding will go toward 15 projects among 17 states and one tribal nation that aim to “advance energy storage technologies,” and “accelerate the development of long-duration energy storage (LDES technologies). 

Batteries are increasingly being used to store clean energy. They can turn solar and wind energy into 24-hour power, the announcement said. The new funding is intended for “long-term” storage, which is longer than the typical four-hour storage of lithium-ion batteries. 

The department said the investment hopes to reduce impacts on the electric grid in cases of climate change-fueled extreme weather events and protect communities from blackouts. 

“As we build our clean energy future, reliable energy storage systems will play a key role in protecting communities by providing dependable sources of electricity when and where it’s needed most, particularly in the aftermath of extreme weather events or natural disasters,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. 

Storage that puts out energy from sundown to sun up, or for several overcast days in a row, will allow natural gas or coal-fired power plants to turn off. 

Expanding cheaper, longer and more efficient LDES technology is needed to meet energy demand. The projects feature many LDES technologies, including a battery that provides up to 100 hours of power. 

“For example, solar power generated during the day could be stored for nighttime use or nuclear energy generated in low demand periods can be used when demand increases,” the announcement said. 

A project led by Xcel Energy will deploy two 100-megawatt battery systems at coal plants that are closing in Colorado and Minnesota. 

A project at California’s Valley Children’s Hospital will install a battery system to add reliability in the acute care medical center in the face of extreme weather. 

Funding will go toward a Second Life Smart Systems initiative in Georgia, California, South Carolina and Louisiana to reuse electric vehicle batteries for back-up power in senior centers, affordable housing complexes and EV chargers. 

Similarly, reusing electric vehicle batteries, Rejoule will help fuel affordable housing communities in Red Lake Nation near the Canadian border, Santa Fe, New Mexico and Petaluma, California. 

Funding will go to installing power backups for a California Children’s Hospital, revitalizing retired coal plants for storage in Colorado and Minnesota, recycling electric vehicle batteries for affordable housing communities in Red Lake Nation, Santa Fe, New Mexico and Petaluma, California, recycling electric vehicle batteries to power senior centers, low-income housing and EV charging stations in Atlanta, San Diego, New Orleans and South Carolina, among other projects

“The investments announced today represent a significant step towards reaching successful commercialization of LDES technologies,” the announcement said. 

The Associated Press contributed to this reporting. 

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