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Senators Urge Department of Energy to Invest in Wide Array of Storage Technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy should ensure that its implementation of funds authorized in Section 40207 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act “advances a diverse portfolio of market-ready technologies that includes both lithium and non-lithium alternative battery chemistries,” a bipartisan group of Senators said in a recent letter to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

To date, all programmatic funding awards for IIJA Section 40207(b) were for projects related to the lithium-ion battery supply chain, the lawmakers said in their Jan. 30 letter.

“We are pleased to see this funding awarded and recognize the importance of domestic lithium-ion batteries, especially in the transportation sector. However, going forward the Department should also seek to accelerate the deployment of domestic alternative battery manufacturing for grid-scale battery energy storage, in addition to lithium-ion technologies, in line with Congressional intent,” they wrote.

Signatories to the letter were Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Angus King (I-Maine), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Shelley Capito (R-WV), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

The lawmakers noted that according to the DOE’s recent report on supply chains for grid energy storage, ensuring more than one technology and different chemistries among the options for grid energy storage systems will increase the resiliency of the overall supply chain.

In December 2022, Congress provided additional clarity and direction to the DOE via report language expressing the desire for a wide array of battery chemistries.

Click here for a recent feature in Public Power Current that details how 2023 could prove to be a key inflection point for the emergence of alternative energy storage technologies.