New York continues long duration energy storage investments with $5M funding initiative

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New York State’s “Renewable Optimization and Energy Storage Innovation Program” is dedicating $5 million to support long duration energy storage (LDES) projects, with project applications due by September 24, 2024 at 3 PM EST. This funding, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), targets innovative solutions capable of delivering energy storage for durations of 10 to 100 hours, within the specified technical categories:

  1. Electrochemical:
    • Including flow batteries and advanced battery solutions
  2. Mechanical
    • Innovative pumped hydro and compressed air/gas solutions
    • Mechanical/gravity energy storage
    • Geomechanical energy storage
  3. Thermal
    • Pumped heat electrical energy storage
    • Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) storage
    • Innovative mediums such as water, sand, molten salts, and rocks

Now in its third iteration, the program finances up to 50% of each approved project’s cost. It prioritizes projects that tackle renewable integration challenges like grid congestion, hosting capacity constraints, and the siting limitations of lithium-ion batteries in New York City. NYSERDA seeks to support technologies that are not yet commercially scaled and are still in developmental stages. Eligible expenses include product development and demonstration projects.

Additionally, the application package stipulates that companies receiving awards must not conduct business in or with Russia.

Proposal evaluation criteria

The proposal scoring criteria lists twenty-eight questions, including:

  • Is the proposed work technically feasible, innovative, and superior to existing alternatives?
  • Are the fundamental scientific principles well understood and clearly articulated?
  • Does the proposed solution have strong potential for commercialization, addressing demonstrated customer needs and significant market opportunities?
  • Is there an appropriate plan for performance monitoring and data analysis included in the proposal?
  • To what extent will there be economic benefits in New York State in the form of subsequent commercial activity and economic growth?
  • How widely can the technology be deployed, both in New York and globally?
  • How realistic is the schedule for achieving the goals of the proposed project?
  • How significant is the commercial potential of this technology?

This funding round follows significant investments in previous years. In the summer of 2023, four demonstration projects received nearly $4 million. Ecolectro was granted just over $1 million to advance sustainable hydrogen technologies; Form Energy received $1.2 million for their iron flow batteries; Polyjule deployed a 167 kW/2 MWh plastic-based battery with slightly over $1 million; and Urban Power was awarded about $700,000 to develop a 100 kW/1 MWh zinc battery.

In 2022, Borrego Solar, JC Solution, Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, Power to Hydrogen, and Roccera were awarded $16.6 million to develop long-duration energy storage solutions. This funding effort was part of a broader initiative that began in 2020, when New York embarked on a project with Zinc8 to develop long-duration zinc energy storage. Following successful development, Zinc8 decided to manufacture its zinc-air batteries in New York State.

As shown in chart above, New York targets significant energy storage milestones by 2050: achieving 10.4 GW over four hours (41.2 GWh) and 6.7 GW over eight hours (53.6 GWh), pushing toward a total of nearly 100 GWh in bulk energy storage. Yet, as of early 2023, despite its mention in the state’s energy roadmap, New York has not quantified energy storage capacities exceeding ten hours.

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