Energy Storage

Legislation would make public power eligible for storage grants

The American Public Power Association is voicing support for legislation recently introduced in the House and Senate that would boost research and development of technologies to increase energy storage capabilities and make public power utilities eligible for storage technical assistance and grants. 

Introduced by Sens. Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, in the Senate and Reps. Sean Casten, D-Ill., and Don Bacon, R-Neb., the Promoting Grid Storage Act (S. 1602 and H.R. 2909) would authorize $1.05 billion over five years to:

  • Improve coordination and collaboration of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy storage research efforts, which are currently fragmented across several programs;
  • Fund DOE grants to assist and boost public and private entities wishing to expand their energy storage capabilities; and
  • Provide grants for pilot storage systems with the goal of moving promising energy-storage technologies from the lab to wide-scale deployment.

Along with the Association, the legislation is supported by the Energy Storage Association (ESA) and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). 

Letters were sent to the chairmen and ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce and Science, Space, and Technologies Committees and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee expressing support for the bill.

In the letters, the groups note that energy storage “is a powerful tool for grid operators to enhance electric system resilience, lower energy costs, manage load and adapt to a changing power supply mix. Nonetheless, the unique attributes of energy storage technologies present a learning curve for grid operators, with technical and financial hurdles that can serve as a barrier to their optimal use.”

The Association, NRECA and ESA said that the Promoting Grid Storage Act would address these challenges by authorizing the DOE to support states, investor-owned electric utilities, public power utilities, and electric cooperatives to incorporate storage into long-term planning and grid operations.

“By prioritizing assistance to electric utilities who have yet to deploy energy storage technologies, this bill will target particularly smaller utilities that need the most assistance,” the letter said. “Moreover, greater collaboration between federal, state, and local energy officials will help ensure we have flexible and resilient grid operations suited to meeting 21st century demands. “

As the committees consider legislation to enhance U.S. energy infrastructure, the groups asked that they include the Promoting Grid Storage Act in discussions and support its passage into law.

Association offers storage resource

The American Public Power Association has produced a report that outlines the values and challenges of behind the meter energy storage systems, from both the customer and utility point of view.

The report focuses on lithium-ion battery storage because that is the predominant BTM energy storage technology. This report also includes highlights of recent federal and state activities, and utility case studies.