CalCharge is a battery and electrochemical energy storage consortium comprised of emerging and established companies, research institutions, government programs, and other key stakeholders in the innovation lifecycle.  Through CalCharge, members will have access to programs in Technology Assessment and Acceleration, Professional Development, Pre-Commercialization Support, and Ecosystem Facilitation.  By being inter-connected through the CalCharge framework and accessing its services, members will be able to accelerate the development, commercialization, and adoption of energy storage technologies for the electric/hybrid vehicle, grid, and consumer electronics markets.

Our Core Purpose

  • Bring together the innovators, end-users, and other key stakeholders in energy storage technology
  • Provide access to the resources and expertise needed to accelerate innovation and market impact for member companies
  • Develop programs and services that smooth the “innovation to installation” pathway for emerging energy storage technologies.

The Challenge

As one of the largest and most dynamic concentrations of the energy storage industry in the world, the California cluster has an outsized impact on industry and market development globally.   However, as with any emerging industry, there are critical gaps in the existing ecosystem that are impairing its development.
To identify and develop solutions to these challenges, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and New Energy Nexus (formerly the California Clean Energy Fund) conducted an extensive research process from 2011 to 2013.  This included not only general market analysis, but also direct engagement and feedback from a broad cross-section of business, public, and civil society stakeholders from across the California energy storage cluster.  Critical issues identified through this process included:
  • The California cluster is highly fragmented with no institutionalized framework in place for collaboration, information sharing, and efficient resource allocation
  • Large scale corporate and government end users that create and drive markets have few connections to emerging innovative technology developers, which limits opportunities for actual demand to drive innovation.
  • Emerging companies have limited access to expertise, development facilities, and high-end scientific resources that are critical to their technology development process
  • There are critical gaps in workforce education, training, and certification programs
  • Research and development centers are generally not located near early stage manufacturing facilities and their supply chains, which is increasingly essential for successful commercialization of new products
  • The pathway from “innovation to installation” is often slowed by a lack of insight and ability to influence construction, planning, transportation and other regulations that impact the ability to deploy new products

The Building Blocks

California is home to one of the largest concentrations of emerging battery technology companies in the US, ranging from nascent startups to global corporations focused on the technologies and components needed for the transportation, grid, and consumer electronic markets.
  • There are more than 130 emerging energy storage companies and 13 academic and research institutions located in California.
  • 43% of deployed US energy storage capacity is in California (excluding pumped hydro)
  • California leads the nation in energy storage patent filings with 219  in 2013, which is more than the next four states combined.
  • California energy storage startups received nearly $73 million in venture capital in 2013, the most of any other state
  • As of 2012, California had over 2,500 jobs in the core energy storage sector
This remarkable success to date is due in large part to a unique combination of private, government, and academic resources located in the state.  This includes:
  • A network of globally prominent academic and research institutions in the field, which are adept at identifying and spinning out promising ideas to create new firms
  • Proximity to the largest hub for venture capital and other financing sources
  • A critical mass of small and large-scale technology companies entering the energy storage markets (e.g. materials, control systems, battery systems, etc.)
  • Major consumers or users of advanced energy storage technology such as semiconductor devices, computer hardware, consumer device, and automobile manufacturers
  • The pioneering and ongoing work of innovative federal, state, and local public policies that have helped to create markets, spur early adoption, and fill critical gaps in the product development and financing lifecycle of new technologies

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What We Do

CalCharge provides the California cluster with the institutional framework, resources, and information it needs to address the critical gaps impairing its growth and position as a global driver of the industry. Through its programs and services, CalCharge creates a “center of gravity” for the energy storage cluster that enables its diverse stakeholders to collaborate, identify barriers to emerging technology success, and develop solutions that help clear the path to commercialization.
CalCharge offers a comprehensive suite of member programs in four key areas: Technology Assessment and Acceleration; Professional Development; Pre-Commercialization Support; and Ecosystem Facilitation.  This includes identifying and providing:
  • Education and applied research in energy storage technologies and advanced manufacturing processes
  • Professional training and industry opportunities for technical professionals entering the battery sector
  • System performance and positioning feedback to guide technology development strategy
  • Market and regulatory insight that can guide the path to commercialization and deployment
  • Connections to potential funding sources and collaborative grant opportunities to support pre-competitive technology research
  • Opportunities to better connect market supply and demand to facilitate “demand driven innovation”

The Vision

Our vision is to create a convergence of entrepreneurs, researchers, investors and policymakers.  Foundations and governments will fund key research centers at universities to grow the next generation of energy storage leaders. New manufacturing processes are developed and deployed creating a center for advanced manufacturing. Energy storage companies rank near the top of job creators. Large scale end-users of energy storage technologies will have direct access to innovative technologies.  Collaboration between companies and research institutions will yield results that attract investors, educate policymakers, and expand markets. Energy storage companies will become one of the top jobs creators in California.  In terms of economic, technical and social impact, the next 30 years for this industry will be comparable to the development of the computer industry in Silicon Valley during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.  The result will be a thriving California energy storage cluster that is viewed as the global leader of the industry.