Biden-Harris Administration allocates $100 million to repair and replace existing EV chargers
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration has announced an additional $100 million in federal funding to repair and replace any and all existing but nonoperational EV chargers in the US. The new accelerator program is accepting applications now and aims to expedite EV adoption while creating thousands more new jobs in the industry.
EV adoption and sustainability have remained a staple in President Biden’s ongoing legacy that began as a vow during his candidacy. In their three-plus years in the White House, the Biden-Harris Administration has enacted the Inflation Reduction Act, revamping Federal tax credits for US consumers in favor of local EV supply chains and production.
We also have seen a huge investment in renewable energy like wind and solar, and billions allocated toward bringing EV battery production out of China and onto US soil. Currently, the US is using $13 billion in Federal funding to help bolster the nation’s electrical grid, preparing for the paradigm shift toward electrification that is already underway.
To complement this shift, the White House and Congress, alongside the Federal Highway Administration, have enacted the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, offering up to $5 billion to States to deploy EV infrastructure.
But what about those existing chargers that are perhaps already dated or are currently out of commission? Today, the White House has presented a solution that should afford technicians to repair virtually all nonoperational EV chargers in the country.
US to repair chargers, make EV network more reliable
According to a press release from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today, the Biden-Harris Administration has opened applications for what is being called the Electric Vehicle Charger Reliability and Accessibility Accelerator.
The US DOT cites the NEVI program and states that this latest $100 million will come out of its first round of funding in order to repair and replace existing EV chargers while the government and private sector work to bolster the US network with brand new charging stations.
According to the US Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, 4.1% (6,261) of public charging ports are temporarily unavailable as of September 11, 2023. Based on estimates utilizing such data, the FHWA anticipates that today’s announcement of $100 million will be able to cover the costs to repair or replace virtually all eligible EV chargers through the program’s “streamlined application process.”
The FHWA also said the new program will be extended to both publicly and privately owned chargers as long as those private piles are still available to the public without restriction. US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg spoke to today’s funding announcement:
Under President Biden’s leadership, America is leading the electric vehicle revolution. This funding represents the latest step toward building a convenient, affordable, reliable charging network that reaches every corner of our nation.
Applications for the new program to repair EV chargers are now open and will remain so through November 13, 2023.
US grid-scale energy storage installations soared in Q2 2023
The US battery energy storage market added 5,597 megawatt hours (MWh) in the second quarter of 2023, a new quarterly record.
The grid-scale segment of the industry drove the market with a record-breaking 5,109 MWh in Q2, beating the previous record in Q4 2021 by 5%, according to Wood Mackenzie and the American Clean Power Association’s (ACP) latest US Energy Storage Monitor report.
The grid-scale segment achieved 172% growth quarter-over-quarter. California was No. 1 among states with the most grid-scale energy storage installations, with 738 MW and a 49% share of installed capacity.
Wood Mackenzie projects the grid-scale segment to be the main driver of the market in its five-year forecast from 2023-27, accounting for 83% of total installations, or 55 gigawatts (GW).
ACP’s VP of research and analytics, John Hensley, said:
The energy storage market is on pace for a record year, as utilities and larger power users increasingly turn to storage to enhance the grid and improve reliability.
The market is on pace to nearly double annual installations despite supply chain challenges and interconnection delays, and will continue to grow quickly in coming years.
Community, commercial, and industrial (CCI) installations, at 107 MWh, were higher than any quarter in 2022 but couldn’t keep pace with the huge spike in Q1 installations, resulting in a 53% quarterly decline. However, the segment is still up 25% year-over-year.
Residential storage saw its second-straight quarter of decline at 381.2 MWh, behind Q1’s 388.2 MWh. California saw the biggest decline, decreasing 17% quarter-over-quarter and 37% year-over-year.
Vanessa Witte, senior analyst with Wood Mackenzie’s energy storage team, said, “We still project strong growth for the residential segment in our five-year outlook, reaching a total of 8 GW in 2027. However, the CCI segment continues to fail to meet growth projections and we have downgraded its five-year growth forecast by 28% to 3 GW.”
On Friday, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $325 million for 15 projects across 17 states and one tribal nation to accelerate the development of long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies. The DOE has set a goal to reduce the cost of LDES by 90% by 2030.
Photo: Jupiter Power; Graphs: US Energy Storage Monitor Q3 2023 | American Clean Power Association, Wood Mackenzie
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Tesla releases update on Optimus robot with video looking like CGI
Tesla has released an update with progress on its Optimus humanoid robot with a video that almost looks like CGI.
Optimus, also known as Tesla Bot, has not been taken seriously by many outside of the more hardcore Tesla fans, and for good reasons.
When it was first announced, it seemed to be a half-baked idea from CEO Elon Musk with a dancer disguised as a robot for visual aid. It also didn’t help that the demo at Tesla AI Day last year was less than impressive.
At the time, Tesla had a very early prototype that didn’t look like much. It was barely able to walk around and wave at the crowd. That was about it.
But we did note that the project was gaining credibility with the latest update at Tesla’s 2023 shareholders meeting earlier this year.
At the time, Tesla showed several more prototypes that all looked more advanced and started to perform actually useful tasks.
Tesla has now released a new update on Optimus with a video showcasing the ability of the robot to sort objects autonomously:
Like the latest versions of Full Self-Driving, Tesla also notes that Optimus is now being trained with neural nets end-to-end.
The video shows that Tesla is again making progress with the Tesla bot, which looks more refined in this update. The mechanics look more stable with a prototype balancing on one foot.
The video even looks CGI at times, but everything points to Tesla actually having those working prototypes around its offices.
In a previous update on Optimus, Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed that the “Optimus stuff is extremely underrated.” The CEO said that the demand could be as high as 10 to 20 billion units.
He went as far as “confidently predicting” that Optimus will account for “a majority of Tesla’s long-term value.”
There’s no clear timeline for bringing the product to market, but Tesla is expected to first use it in its own operations.
Quick Charge Podcast: September 23, 2023
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