ENR Advances Consensus Energy Storage Legislation

September 25, 2019

Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Ranking Member Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., today advanced a comprehensive energy storage package to the full Senate during a business meeting held by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The package was reported as an amendment to S. 1602, the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act introduced by Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine. The committee chose to amend her bill as a reflection of her leadership on energy storage and clean energy technologies. 

Senators Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Angus King, I-Maine, Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Jack Reed, D-R.I., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I, Chris Coons, D-Del., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H, also helped author the bipartisan packaged reported by the committee today.

“Energy storage technology holds such great promise in the fight against climate change. Supporting current technology and advancing next-generation energy storage will allow us to integrate more renewables, such as wind and solar, which in turn will help to reduce emissions,” Collins said. “The BEST Act will help advance energy storage technologies to improve the efficiency of our nation’s electricity grid and help align research efforts on energy storage. I am pleased this bill has been incorporated into a comprehensive energy storage package, and I encourage all of our colleagues to support this bipartisan piece of legislation.”

“Energy storage presents a great opportunity to make the grid cleaner, more resilient, and more affordable,” Murkowski said. “I commend Senator Collins for her leadership and thank all of the members who helped us reach agreement on this consensus package. It will help us advance energy storage technologies, make intermittent resources more competitive, maintain a reliable supply of energy storage materials, and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also reflects the best traditions of our committee, which is known for its bipartisanship and constructive engagement.”

“I’m pleased that this bill uses DOE’s prize authority to kick start recycling of critical materials used in storage technologies. Advancing storage technologies will help us transition to clean energy but we must also pay attention to the mineral commodities that make these technologies possible. Renewable and storage technologies rely on a handful of minerals that occur only in certain countries with weak central governments where China has moved to increase its influence. Because of this, I believe recycling can and should play a larger role in establishing a viable domestic supply of the minerals needed for storage technologies,” Manchin said.

“Investing in research and development for energy storage technologies is a key component to an all-of-the-above energy strategy and will allow the United States to remain a global leader in responsible energy production,” Gardner said. “As we rely more and more on intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar, it is critical to invest in energy storage to enhance grid resiliency. These bills will lead to greater efficiency, clean energy generation, and more jobs in the energy sector.”

“Every Arizonan wants affordable and reliable energy,” McSally said. “Energy storage is key to fully integrating renewable generation and keeping energy costs low for consumers. I am glad have two of my bills incorporated into the BEST Act and to be a part of a committee that is working in a bipartisan way to deliver results for Arizonans.”

“To tackle the climate crisis, America needs to move to renewable energy. Affordable energy storage is key to that transition,” Wyden said. “The federal government should be all hands on deck in promoting innovation and new technologies that will save our planet and lower utility bills for American families.”

“Storage is the key to fully unlocking the immense potential of renewable energy, giving us options when the clouds are out and the skies are still,” King said. “Effective and long-lasting energy storage technology will reduce our carbon footprint, increase the reliability of our electric grid, and improve our national security – in short, it will make a major difference in the lives of the American people. This legislation will maximize our important investments in this field, so researchers from different departments can work from the best information available to advance their shared goal. Because it doesn’t matter who gets the credit – it matters that we take a step forward that makes our energy grid cleaner and safer.”

“As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, advocating for research, development and deployment of long-term energy storage has been a top priority,” Heinrich said. “I am proud to join my colleagues in this effort to invest in reshaping the power industry. This is a step forward to modernize the power grid with advanced storage technologies that can provide days, even months, of capacity. With advances in solar and wind energy, New Mexico remains a leader in the charge towards a clean energy future. It is critical that we provide an extra spark to boost New Mexico power grids – with the potential to do the same around the globe.”

“Hawaii is on the leading edge of incorporating energy storage and renewable power. The bill will accelerate development and use of new storage technologies and make it easier for people to learn how to make the best use of energy storage systems in their businesses and communities. Making energy storage cheaper and more available will help cut energy bills for homes and businesses, while helping Hawaii reach its goal of 100% renewable power and the nation transition to a cleaner, more sustainable, energy future,” Hirono said.

“Nevada is a leader in clean energy production, and I’m proud to cosponsor legislation to support this growing industry,” Cortez Masto said. “Modernizing our clean energy storage capabilities will ensure Nevada remains the Innovation State and will promote new green energy development while creating good-paying jobs and protecting our environment for future generations.”  

“Kansas is a nationwide leader in renewable energy and an increased capacity for energy storage is imperative to grow and capitalize on our renewable energy potential,” Moran said. “This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will increase grid reliability and resilience, and help communities in Kansas and across the country – especially in rural areas – access energy supplies during peak usage periods with less burdensome rate hikes.”

“Energy storage is a burgeoning technology that can provide energy in times of shortage, loss or disruption of power, thereby increasing reliability and consistency of energy dominance in the US. This package will help modernize federal energy storage efforts to meet the technological needs of the future and complements Idaho National Laboratory’s work in this important research field,” Crapo said.

“Advances in energy storage will enhance grid reliability and flexibility.  It will enhance energy storage research programs and authorizes robust funding for energy storage research and establishes grant programs to provide states, utilities, and universities the resources they need to advance their energy storage planning and research,” Reed said.

“The United States can lead the clean energy revolution, or we can follow. I, for one, want us to lead,” Smith said. “I’m glad that a bipartisan group of Senators were able to come together to work on an effort to boost the use of clean energy, and that it includes many provisions from my Promoting Grid Storage Act. This will support research and the development of cutting-edge technology, improve energy storage capabilities for America’s electric grid, and, of course, expand our ability to utilize more renewable energy.”

“As our country faces pressing energy issues, now is the time to explore new solutions across every zip code. Our bipartisan Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act will help provide rural communities and rural electric providers with technical assistance and support so they can take advantage of potential energy storage and microgrid projects. By extending expertise and support to rural communities and rural electric providers, we can increase rural community energy resiliency and autonomy, spur economic activity, and improve public and environmental health,” Klobuchar said.

“Improving energy storage is a key piece of the puzzle for reducing emissions and tackling climate change,” Whitehouse said. “Better storage options will make wind and solar power even cheaper and more reliable, accelerating the transition to a renewable energy grid.”

“Our top scientists and energy experts tell us that grid-scale storage is crucial to build on the progress we’ve already made to use renewable energy and limit greenhouse gas emissions,” Coons said. “The BEST Act is a prime example of the concerted, bipartisan effort to invest in energy innovation and American ingenuity. The demonstration projects supported by this legislation will be key in commercializing the technologies we are working to develop across our federal agencies, universities, and National Labs.”

“Increasing energy storage capabilities is key to expanding renewable energy and combatting climate change as we continue to grow our economy,” Hassan said. “This bipartisan bill will help spur the research and deployment of new energy storage technology, building our economy and helping protect our environment.”

Energy storage is the process of capturing electricity from the electric grid and storing it for future on-demand use. Energy storage can pair with other generation resources to make their output more consistent and reliable. This technology can take many forms, including pumped hydropower, grid-scale batteries, and flywheels.

As reported through a joint staff substitute amendment, the BEST Act now incorporates language from four additional energy storage measures, all of which were considered at a subcommittee hearing in July:

  • S. 1593, the Promoting Grid Storage Act of 2019 (Smith);
  • S. 1183, the Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act of 2019 (Klobuchar);
  • S. 1741, the Reducing the Cost of Energy Storage Act of 2019 (Wyden); and
  • S. 2048, the Joint Long-Term Storage Act of 2019 (King).

As reported by the committee today, the BEST Act includes the following provisions:

  • Research and Development:  Requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to establish a cross-cutting energy storage system research and development program with the goal of reducing the cost and extending the duration of energy storage systems. 
  • Demonstration Projects: Requires DOE to undertake at least five energy storage system demonstration projects, including a minimum of one project designed to address long-term storage needs. 
  • Joint Long-Duration Demonstration Initiative:  Establishes a joint program between DOE and the Department of Defense to demonstrate long-duration storage technologies.
  • Technical and Planning Assistance:  Establishes a program at DOE to assist electric utilities with identifying, evaluating, planning, designing, and developing processes to procure energy storage systems.
  • Recycling Prize:  Establishes a prize competition at DOE to advance the recycling of critical energy storage materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite.
  • Regulatory Actions: Requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to conduct a rulemaking to develop standard processes for utilities to recover energy storage system costs in FERC-regulated rates.

Click here for the bill text.

In addition to the subcommittee hearing in July, Murkowski and Manchin also convened a full committee hearing in June that focused on expanded deployment of grid-scale energy storage.