U.S. Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., members of the Senate Energy Committee, have introduced what they deem a job-creating measure that will help strengthen the country’s energy infrastructure.
According to a press release from the senators, the Advancing Grid Storage Act would accelerate investments in the deployment of energy storage systems, which are key to a more resilient, efficient, clean, and cost-effective electrical grid. Investing in energy storage will create high-skill, sustainable jobs and will also help families and businesses save on their energy costs.
“Investing in 21st century energy infrastructure is good for families, businesses, and communities in Minnesota and across the country,” says Franken in the release. “My legislative proposal would modernize our energy technologies, bring more jobs to Minnesota, save money, and make energy delivery more efficient and reliable.”
“Energy storage complements renewable resources like wind and solar to increase full-time availability and provide backup power in case of emergencies,” adds Heinrich. “By investing in modernizing our energy infrastructure we can help make our electrical grid more resilient and reliable, while helping families and businesses save money. This bill encourages innovation to promote clean energy storage, and will help create clean energy jobs in New Mexico and across the country.”
Energy storage is key to improving our electricity grid, according to the release. Advanced storage technologies help match the energy demands of consumers and businesses in a cost-effective manner with minimal waste and strengthen the existing electricity transmission and distribution system. Improving energy storage will help keep the lights on during severe storms, supply shortages and power interruptions, as well as help consumers avoid high utility rates by offsetting the need to generate new electricity during peak demand. Finally, energy storage helps integrate renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power into U.S. communities.
According to the release, the Advancing Grid Storage Act promotes research, development, demonstration, and deployment of energy storage systems by doing the following:
- Advancing energy storage research and development. Continued research and development on storage materials, electrochemical systems, and power conversion technologies will be crucial to drive down the cost of energy storage technologies and making them accessible to consumers. The Advancing Grid Storage Act would authorize $50 million per year of dedicated funding for energy storage systems within the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E).
- Establishing a technical assistance program for energy storage systems. Decision-makers often lack the information or expertise necessary to deploy energy systems. The Advancing Grid Storage Act would establishe a five-year, $500 million technical assistance program to help for-profit and nonprofit entities identify opportunities, assess feasibility, overcome interconnection and permitting challenges, conduct financial assessments, and perform the required engineering.
- Supporting demonstration and deployment of energy storage systems. The Advancing Grid Storage Act would establish a five-year, $500 million competitive grant program to help states, tribes, utilities, and universities overcome high upfront capital costs of energy storage systems. Qualifying projects would improve the security of emergency response infrastructure, integrate renewable energy resources onto the grid, and make better use of existing grid assets. The grants would be capped at 50% of the total project cost, up to $5 million.
In a statement, Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the Energy Storage Association, welcomes the legislation.
“We applaud the leadership of Senator Franken and Senator Heinrich for introducing the S.1851 Advancing Grid Storage Act (AGSA) in Congress,” she says. “AGSA will provide assistance to state and local governments, smaller utilities, public power districts and rural cooperatives who seek to modernize their electric infrastructure with advanced energy storage systems. These advances will make the grid more efficient, sustainable, resilient and affordable, to the benefit of homes and businesses across the U.S.”
She adds, “Investing in 21st-century grid infrastructure will generate significant benefits to all electricity users. Energy storage has proven to be a reliable solution for many of the challenges we face in modernizing our grid infrastructure. AGSA is an important next step in modernizing the grid for even more Americans, and will ensure the U.S. continues to lead the world in the advanced energy storage industry – bringing jobs and investment to communities across the country.”