Heinrich Introduces Energy Storage Promotion and Deployment Act To Create America’s First Energy Storage Standard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced S. 1434, the Energy Storage Promotion and Deployment Act, to establish an energy storage portfolio standard for electric utility companies. A utility may meet the standard with any combination of storage technologies and ownership, including storage located at homes or businesses. U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is a cosponsor of the bill.

The bill would set national targets for energy storage in order to meet the growing demand on the electric grid and encourage the integration of solar and wind energy. Increased use of energy storage can improve reliability, lower costs, and defer or reduce the need to invest in infrastructure, such as new power lines. Additionally, energy storage is instrumental for emergency preparedness because of its ability to provide backup power.

"The grid of the future is not a one-way street, but rather an ever-changing, three-dimensional system where electrons are moving in many different directions. Customers are now generators and utility companies have new responsibilities to provide flexibility, reliability, and improved security. This bill will demonstrate the United States' leadership in energy technology and grid modernization," said Senator Heinrich. "Energy storage makes the grid more stable and resilient, and is essential to integrating more renewable sources--such as wind and solar--into the grid, and enhancing the use of conventional power generation sources. Modernizing our nation's grid isn't just about new jobs, or harnessing our innovative clean energy potential, it is also about reducing carbon pollution and preventing the devastating and costly consequences of climate change."

"In the all-important shift towards renewable energy sources, storage is the missing link that can help propel us towards a sustainable and responsible energy future," said Senator King. "When the sun's not shining and the wind's not blowing, innovative storage technologies can ensure that we will always have the ability to harness the power of these invaluable energy sources. Storage can make all the difference as we increasingly look to renewables to power our lives, and this bill is the forward-thinking approach we need."

The Energy Storage Promotion and Deployment Act requires most state-regulated utilities by the end of the year 2024 to have sufficient new energy storage available on their system to provide at least 2 percent of the maximum power level they deliver to consumers. A utility may meet the standard with any combination of storage technologies and ownership, including storage located at homes or businesses, as well as energy storage systems, including thermal storage, used in conjunction with demand-response or time-of-day pricing programs. The concept is similar to the renewable energy standards many states, including New Mexico, now have.

The Energy Storage Promotion and Deployment Act is modeled on a successful program in California, which requires three large utility companies--Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric--to deploy at least 1,325 megawatts of storage by the end of 2024. During a hearing in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources earlier this month, an executive of Pacific Gas & Electric told Senator Heinrich the company uses its existing 1,200 megawatts of storage to help manage intermittent resources like wind and solar, and Pacific Gas & Electric would be able to meet the state's requirement to deploy 580 additional megawatts of storage by 2024, primarily using battery technology.

The Energy Storage Promotion and Deployment Act would create a two-step Primary Portfolio Standard for Capacity:

  • By January 1, 2021: Each electric utility would be required to have energy storage capacity with a power capacity rating equal to at least 1 percent of the utility's annual peak power demand of the system, as measured over a 1-hour period and averaged over the period of calendar years 2017-2019.
  • By January 1, 2025: Each electric utility would be required to have energy storage capacity with a power capacity rating equal to at least 2 percent of the utility's annual peak power demand of the system, as measured over a 1-hour period and averaged over the period of calendar years 2021-2023.

Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico is a partner of the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Center for Energy Storage Research working to develop low-cost, more efficient batteries for use in electric vehicles and energy storage for the nation's electric grid. Energy storage technologies range from batteries, thermal energy, and pumped hydropower, to hydrogen for use in fuel cells, compressed air, superconducting magnets, and spinning flywheels.

Tesla unveiled a lower-cost battery storage system last month that is expected to revolutionize the industry. Sales of energy storage are growing dramatically as prices continue to decline sharply.  According to the Energy Storage Association, annual installations are projected to grow from about 340 megawatts of power to 6,000 megawatts in just the next three years. 

A copy of the Energy Storage Promotion and Deployment Act is available here.