DOE program will increase electric resilience and affordability for 14 underserved communities


The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity announced that its Energy Storage Program has chosen 14 communities from more than 60 applicants to receive technical assistance from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as part of the Energy Storage for Social Equity (ES4SE) Initiative.

Under the initiative, these 14 communities will first receive technical support to better assess their energy challenges, evaluate solutions, and find partners to support the community in meeting its energy goals, which can include equity assessments, and workforce, economic, and spatial analysis.

Once baseline needs and challenges have been identified for each of the communities, the partnership will shift into the second phase, which will entail energy storage project development and deployment, where up to five communities within this group will be selected to begin installing and commissioning their projects. Support provided by the lab in this phase can include equipment sizing, identifying utility connections, identifying safety concerns, installation support, measurement, and validation to ensure project performance meets the original goals.

The selected participants for the first phase of the initiative are:

  • Native Renewable, Flagstaff, AZ
  • Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community and Western Energy Development, Trinidad, CA
  • Ayika Solutions Incorporated, Atlanta, GA
  • Hoʻāhu Energy Cooperative Molokai, Kaunakakai, HI
  • Together New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
  • Honor the Earth, Callaway, MN
  • Coast Electric Power Association, Kiln, MS
  • Joule Community Power and Open Door Mission, Rochester, NY
  • Warm Springs Community Action Team, Warm Springs, OR
  • Rogue Climate, Coos Bay, OR
  • Coyote Steals Fire Energy Group, Pendleton, OR
  • Makah Tribe, Neah Bay, WA
  • Klickitat Valley Health, Goldendale, WA
  • Oneida Nation, Oneida, WI

The announcement of participating communities is the second major announcement that DOE has made this week regarding energy storage. Just yesterday, DOE, in collaboration with the US Department of Labor and the AFL-CIO, announced that it is investing $5 million to launch a strategy for lithium-battery manufacturing.

The purpose of the investment is to establish a secure end-to-end battery materials and technology supply chain, and reduce American dependence on foreign-made battery products.

Both announcements follow DOE’s recent release of two Notices of Intent authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to provide $3 billion to support projects that bolster domestic battery manufacturing and recycling. The funding, which will be made available in the coming months, will support battery-materials refining, which will bolster domestic refining capacity of minerals such as lithium, as well as production plants, battery cell and pack manufacturing facilities, and recycling facilities.

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