The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland will house the U.S. Department of Energy’s next generation “Grid Storage Launchpad,” a $75 million facility with 30 research laboratories focused on energy grid resilience, energy storage and clean energy adaptation.
The Department of Energy announced the project on March 10 in a move that further cements the Tri-Cities and Washington state as a center for clean energy development.
The Washington State Department of Commerce is supporting the federal investment with $8.3 million for advanced research equipment and specialized instrumentation.
“Deploying new grid technologies means we can get more renewable power on the system, support a growing fleet of electric vehicles, make our grid more reliable and resilient and secure our clean energy future,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
The launchpad, or GSL, as it is being called, will include research laboratories, with testing chambers capable of determining how new technology works in real world conditions.
It will encourage collaboration through flexible workspaces and Fellowship Labs, dedicated spaces where researchers will work on energy storage technology originating in the U.S. research and development community.
The project also will bring jobs to the area.
“Accelerating the development of energy storage technologies is fundamental to the transition to a cleaner and more diverse electricity grid,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington. “By manufacturing and deploying these technologies here at home we will reduce energy costs, create jobs, and help keep the lights on during extreme weather emergencies. Washington is well positioned to lead the nation in advancing energy storage technologies, so I’m pleased that Energy Secretary Granholm is today affirming our nation will continue to harness the talents and innovation of the leading scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with this announcement.”
PNNL will select a design and construction contractor, with work expected to begin by late 2021. The GSL is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2025.
In addition to providing funding, the state department of commerce signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal energy department’s Office of Electricity to promote partnerships to advance grid energy storage technologies, support the energy storage innovation ecosystem, and share best practices with other states.
The collaboration builds on a prior agreement signed in 2016.
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