Biden seeks to cut energy storage costs by 90% within decade

The Biden administration announced Wednesday an ambitious goal of cutting the cost of energy storage by 90 per cent within a decade, an effort officials say is necessary to achieve the president’s climate goals.

Spearheaded by the Energy Department, the plan seeks breakthroughs that will be critical for the use of power from solar, wind and other renewable energy sources when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

“We’re going to bring hundreds of gigawatts of clean energy onto the grid over the next few years, and we need to be able to use that energy wherever and whenever it’s needed,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

Specifically, the Energy Department is focusing on technology that can store power for more than 10 hours at a time. It didn’t offer an estimate of what it will cost to achieve the goal but said it would seek funds from Congress for research.

Currently, the largest source of long-duration energy storage is a system of reservoirs called “pumped storage hydropower” in which water pumped into one can be fed by gravity into a second reservoir at a lower level, generating power through a turbine. But the department said electrochemical, mechanical, thermal and other technologies would be considered as part of the effort.

President Joe Biden has set a goal of decarbonizing the nation’s power sector by 2035 and the rest of the economy by 2050.

Earlier this year, the Energy Department announced a goal of slashing the cost of solar power by 60 per cent , which would reduce utility-scale solar energy’s current cost of 4.6 cents per kilowatt-hour to 3 cents by 2025 and 2 cents by 2030.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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