Gravity Power, supplier of an innovative solution to the problem of how to store electricity, launched a crowd-funding campaign on the StartEngine platform on Aug. 9.

Recently awarded the Energy Storage Innovations Prize by the U.S. Department of Energy, Santa Barbara-based Gravity Power is aiming for the projected trillion-dollar market for decarbonizing electricity.

As the world ramps up renewable energy production to reduce reliance on planet-warming fossil fuels, a challenge is figuring out how to store that energy inexpensively, cleanly and efficiently.

Gravity Power LLC has developed what its founders believe is a revolutionary solution: an underground shaft designed to use low-impact mining and hydropower technology to store thousands of megawatt hours of electricity.

The innovation has captured the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity, which recently awarded Gravity Power the American-Made Energy Storage Innovations Prize.

“Cost-effective, long-duration, and grid-scale energy storage is essential to supporting the nation’s electric infrastructure in the transition to clean energy,” said Gene Rodrigues, the Office of Electricity’s assistant secretary for electricity. “The Energy Storage Innovations Prize showcases American innovation.”

The company has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds to build a fully operational demonstration plant, the first plant to use the Gravity Power model.

“The plant is intended to showcase the real-world capacity of Gravity Power’s invention, and its potential to become a low-cost, scalable method for storing large amounts of clean energy worldwide,” said Brad Paden, a professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at UCSB and founding investor in Gravity Power.

“Gravity Power has what we believe is by far the best method for storing electricity,” Paden said. “Investors in this round can capture an opportunity at a critical juncture, while it is still, we believe, significantly undervalued.”

A Gravity Power plant is designed to be a deep, underground shaft with a piston that is lifted hydraulically to store energy and lowered to generate energy, allowing clean electricity from solar and wind power to be stored until needed, such as during peak evening or summer hours, even when there is no sun or wind.

“Underground plants are designed to be quiet and unobtrusive with far less impact on the environment than alternative storage options such as traditional pumped hydro or lithium batteries,” said Jim Fiske, chief innovation officer and inventor of the Gravity Power technology.

“And Gravity Power is projected to offer the lowest cost per kilowatt-hour of any storage technology; about 4 to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour,” said Steve Taber, Gravity Power chairman/CEO.

Demand for clean energy storage is projected to soar over the next two decades, reaching $1 trillion by 2040. Gravity Power plans to earn a return on investment by adding a 1-cent-per-kilowatt-hour licensing fee to its plants, while leaving a significant margin for power company customers of about 7 cents during peak hours, Taber said.

“That 1 cent licensing fee amounts to millions of dollars of profit potential on each plant,” he said. “And we intend to build hundreds of plants.”

Gravity Power has spent several years optimizing its technology in a laboratory setting, recruiting highly trained engineers, and obtaining four patents across 20 countries, Taber said.

For more about the crowd-funding campaign, visit