Identifying Priorities for Grid-Scale Energy Storage

Client: The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, in support of the U.S. Department of Energy
power grid distribution conducting phone interviews facilitating conference on grid-scale storage Industry needs for the electric grid cover and infographic Grid-scale storage report covers

Project Overview

We consulted with leaders from the electric utility sector and the materials science community to help The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) develop two technical reports that outline a strategic plan to advance grid-scale stationary energy storage devices through 2030.

Need

Substantially improving the energy storage capability of the U.S. electric grid is critical to providing reliable, affordable, and clean electricity to the American public. However, energy storage technologies are still in their infancy and require a significant push to meet the operating needs of energy companies. The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability recognized the need to identify priorities that would help the industry move forward.

Our Solution

We worked with TMS to bring together more than 70 experts across the electric power and energy storage industries and government communities to help define a path forward for U.S. grid-scale energy storage. To gather initial information about the potential for these technologies, we conducted 30 telephone interviews with leading experts.

We used these interview findings to jumpstart brainstorming at two workshops. At the first workshop, we facilitated electric utility experts to define industry needs and quantitative technology performance requirements. Then at the second workshop we helped the materials science community identify the R&D needed to meet these industry requirements. This two workshop approach eliminated a common problem with collaborative workshops in which desired solutions sometimes drive action instead of need.

Synthesizing the findings from the interviews and workshops, we developed two 40-page reports that outline the high-priority initiatives necessary to advance the deployment of grid-based energy storage devices today through 2030.

Electric Power Industry Needs for Grid-Scale Storage Applications identifies five storage applications that have the greatest overall potential to benefit power system planning and operations: area and frequency regulation, renewables grid integration, transmission and distribution upgrade deferral and substitution, load following, and electric energy time shift. The report also specifies quantitative performance targets that energy storage systems must achieve to realize significant market uptake across the electric grid. Advanced Materials and Devices for Stationary Electrical Energy Storage Applications discusses the technology-specific limitations of existing energy storage offerings. The report provides timelines of technology-specific initiatives that are needed to enable energy storage devices to achieve the performance needs of the electric power industry.

Impact

Our reports are being used to guide future DOE energy storage program planning and to better align the energy storage community as it pursues widespread energy storage on the U.S. electric grid.