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Invinity gets CEC funding for non-lithium energy storage

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The California Energy Commission (CEC) has selected four energy storage projects incorporating vanadium flow batteries (VFBs) from Invinity Energy Systems for funding as part of an initiative to stimulate availability of long-duration, non-lithium energy storage.

California has sufficient renewable generation that during certain times available production outstrips demand, though not always when energy is most needed. The CEC, California’s primary energy policy and planning agency, sees long-duration storage as a key to stabilizing the grid and delivering on the State’s decarbonization goals.

State officials expect that California needs 1 gigawatt of new long-duration energy storage to advance its targets for electricity sector decarbonization, so earlier this year launched a $20m solicitation to fund innovative long-duration non-lithium storage to accelerate fulfilment of that need.

“California is the world leader in energy innovation, so it’s fantastic to see them opening up the market for long-duration storage and understanding the vital role that it will play in the energy transition.”

Matt Harper, chief commercial officer at Invinity.

The CEC received 23 proposals and selected eight for funding, with an unprecedented four of the winning eight including vanadium flow batteries supplied by Invinity.

The project sites, comprising 7.8 MWh of Invinity VFBs in total, are situated across California and will see Invinity’s long-duration batteries paired with renewable energy to perform a range of services including peak shaving, demand charge reduction and provision of back-up power.

Invinity’s vanadium flow batteries are a form of heavy duty, non-degrading, stationary energy storage which are deployed in high-utilization, industrial applications such as grid balancing, renewable ‘firming’ and electric vehicle integration. They will complement California’s significant wind and solar generation by storing power for eight to ten hours, and do so for the 20- to 30-year life of those generating assets.

“The California energy storage market points toward a future that includes longer-duration, non-lithium storage, and the California Energy Commission has taken a leadership role in driving the diversity of storage technologies this future requires. Getting the CEC’s support and that of our impressive partners in these projects is a major vote of confidence.”

Larry Zulch, chief executive officer at Invinity.

Vanadium flow batteries will play a crucial role in supporting the energy transition, with the market for this technology expected to exceed $4.25 billion by 2028. Excelling at heavy-duty, stationary, high-throughput applications, they are ideal for storing and dispatching energy on demand from industrial-scale solar generation, delivering more flexible, more valuable low-carbon energy projects.

“California has pioneered renewable technology for decades but their electric grid is currently plagued by problems, with wildfires, regular blackouts and tremendous instability in electricity supply. Our vanadium flow batteries can help to address these issues by dispatching clean, low-cost renewable energy on demand, delivering the stability needed to achieve California’s ambitious decarbonization targets.”

Matt Harper.

VFBs are seen as a complement to existing lithium-ion solutions and possess a number of key advantages in terms of performance, duration and lifetime over the incumbent technology. Persistent concerns around lithium-ion safety and raw material sourcing practices also present opportunities for non-flammable, sustainably-sourced alternatives, of which vanadium flow batteries are a leading contender.

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