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Letter to Congressional Leaders: ‘Make Energy Storage a Policy Priority’

“Energy storage systems are critical to ensuring a resilient, reliable, cost-effective, and sustainable grid,” a letter sent on April 3 by the Energy Storage Association and 52 industry organizations admonished the leaders of the U.S. Congress – asking the lawmakers to see energy storage as a policy priority when they discuss infrastructure projects in the coming months.

Addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky). Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin-1st District), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California-12th District) , the correspondence emphasized that energy storage systems are “fuel neutral” – and therefore, would support any generation resource connected to the grid, whether fossil fuel or renewable.

What’s more, the signatories said, the U.S. has a leading global industry position to protect. Indeed, in the fourth quarter of 2016, alone, the nation deployed 141 MW of energy storage – and experts expect the market to grow by tenfold over the next several years.

As costs of the technology decline and adoption rates climb, the global industry is expected to surge to more than $240 billion annually by 2040, “and if the U.S. competes to stay at the forefront, it can employ and support hundreds of thousands of Americans,” the letter said.

But it is not just about dollars and cents, the association and the industry principals stated. Energy storage deployment enjoys bipartisan support because of the direct and tangible benefits that it delivers on the grid. They pointed out that both Republican and Democratic governors have implemented programs supporting early storage deployments.

“For example, utilities in Texas, Utah, and New York have proposed energy storage as a smart, cost-effective complement to their wires and substations,” the letter detailed, providing the following other examples:

  • Utilities in Hawaii and Arizona are piloting storage deployments as part of grid infrastructure to enable more distributed generation.

  • Policymakers in New Jersey and Massachusetts are experimenting with strategic storage deployments for greater grid resiliency.

  • Utilities in California recently deployed 90 MW of energy storage in just six months to overcome an emergency failure of conventional natural gas infrastructure.

Yet, even with initial actions by states to reap the benefits of storage and foster the growth of the industry in their states, they said, many barriers remain to using storage as an innovative part of U.S. energy infrastructure.

The writers urged the Congressional leaders to put “appropriate national public policy in place,” so that the United States can “continue to grow this nascent industry and lead the globe on research and development, manufacturing, integration, and deployment of the hardware and software necessary for intelligent energy storage-based solutions.”

Among the 52 industry signatories were Advanced Energy Economy, AES Energy, Ameresco, California Energy Storage Alliance, Direct Energy, Eaton, EDF Renewable Energy, Edison Energy, Enel Green Power, EnerNOC, GridWise Alliance, Ingersoll Rand, Johnson Control, LG Chem, Lockheed Martin, New England Clean Energy Council, National Electrical Contractors Association, New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium, Panasonic, S&C Electric, Siemens, Viridity Energy, Vizn Energy, and Younicos.

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