Trio of new bills in Congress aim to support energy storage deployment
Senators rushed to file a slate of energy storage bills in recent days ahead of hearings on the subject scheduled for next week.
On Tuesday, the House Energy & Commerce Committee will question energy industry leaders on reliability and resilience. At the same time, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing specifically on energy storage.
Those events could bring attention to the new legislation aimed at boosting federal support for the emerging technology. At a discussion hosted by the Advanced Energy Storage Caucus on Wednesday, industry leaders said they hope to cast energy storage as a resource that “helps everyone,” aiming to avoid the partisan divides that characterize support for renewables or fossil fuels on Capitol Hill.
“Energy storage as infrastructure is enough of a bipartisan topic,” Ted Ko, director of policy at Stem, said about the Franken bill, which would fund storage R&D for grid resilience. “There’s a dozen different critical infrastructures in the U.S. and energy is probably the one the others all depend on, so investing in R&D for that is I think a bipartisan issue that should give that legislation a little more legs.”
Provisions for DOE demonstration projects and technical assistance on storage could help utilities integrate the new technology into their long-term generation planning, said Jason Burwen, policy and advocacy director at the Energy Storage Association.
“There’s a recognition of putting storage into the planning processes of utilities, particularly of smaller utilities and munis and co-ops that may not have human capital and may be resource constrained,” he said. “That’s going to be transformative for those folks to figure out how does this cost-benefit work out … how do we value the resilience aspects and then how do we make this make sense not just for a one-off procurement but part of a long term resource plan?”