Cycling Hardware to Analyze and Ready Grid-Scale Electricity Storage
Methods for storing electricity for the electric power system (i.e. the grid) are developing rapidly, but widespread adoption of these technologies requires real-world data about their performance, economic benefit, and long-term reliability. The CHARGES program, short for “Cycling Hardware to Analyze and Ready Grid-Scale Electricity Storage,” establishes two sites where ARPA-E-funded battery technologies will be tested under conditions designed to represent not just today’s applications, but also the demands of tomorrow’s electric power system. The program will establish realistic duty cycles for storage devices on a microgrid, and test them in both a controlled environment and under realistic microgrid operating conditions. The objective of the CHARGES program is to accelerate the commercialization of electrochemical energy storage systems developed in current and past ARPA-E-funded research efforts. The program aims to help ARPA-E-funded battery development teams improve their storage technologies to deliver substantial economic benefit under real-world conditions, both now and in the future.
Advanced energy storage promises to play a key role in the modernization of our nation’s electricity grid. While relatively little storage is deployed on today’s grid, tomorrow’s grid will need widespread energy storage to enable the cost-effective integration of ever-increasing amounts of renewables, allow deferral of infrastructure investments, reduce transmission losses, and provide backup power and grid stabilization during emergencies. Since storage can provide many valuable grid services, it is likely that future storage devices will be called upon to perform multiple functions, resulting in very demanding duty cycles. At CHARGES’ two sites, teams of experts are evaluating scenarios to anticipate these duty cycles and testing ARPA-E-funded storage devices against these requirements. Performance data generated by the CHARGES program will guide battery developers as they improve their technologies as well as provide end-users of energy storage systems with validated information from a trusted third party about the performance and value of novel grid storage technologies that are currently in development.
If successful, CHARGES projects will accelerate the adoption of grid storage systems by establishing reliable, third-party evaluations of ARPA-E energy storage technologies’ capabilities and providing data on a storage system’s economic value.
Greater utilization of grid storage systems can boost the resiliency of the grid in emergencies and improve the overall use of our expensive transmission resources.
Grid storage systems can facilitate the expansion of distributed power generation, including intermittent renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power.
Economically competitive grid storage systems can spur demand for storage, leading to new manufacturing and installation jobs in the United States, and reduce the need for over-capacity in power generation, improving the cost structure of electric power delivery.