WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) to accelerate the development of next-generation energy storage has been signed into law. The Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act will support grid-scale energy storage research and development and improve the efficiency of the nation’s electric grid, while helping to align research efforts on energy storage technologies.
“As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, advocating for the research and development of long-term energy storage has been a top priority,” said Heinrich. “I am proud to see the Better Energy Storage Technology Act signed into law so that we can truly invest in reshaping the power industry. This bipartisan effort offers federal agencies and national labs the opportunity to modernize our energy 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. Signing this bill into law adds the extra spark to boost New Mexico power grids – with the potential to do the same around the globe.”
Energy storage provides a range of benefits including increased resilience and reliability on the grid. Supporting current and next-generation energy storage devices will complement the growth of clean, renewable resources on the power grid, replacing other sources of energy that release harmful emissions that cause climate change. In addition to these benefits, energy storage systems can help decrease energy costs by reducing the need for expensive peak power.
One of the biggest impediments to the commercialization of energy storage systems is cost. This legislation aims to increase the affordability of this technology by supporting Department of Energy (DOE) research, planning and technical assistance, and demonstration and pilot projects. DOE has successfully demonstrated how federal support for research and development can reduce the cost of innovative technology. For example, DOE’s SunShot Initiative reduced the price of solar by approximately 75 percent in less than a decade.
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 three energy storage system demonstration projects, including a minimum of one project designed to address seasonal variations in supply and demand.
- 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.
- Joint Long-Duration Demonstration Initiative: Establishes a joint program between DOE and the Department of Defense to demonstrate long-duration storage technologies.
- Recycling Program: Establishes a program at DOE to advance the recycling of critical energy storage materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite.
The legislation is supported by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Bipartisan Policy Center, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), ClearPath, Energy Storage Association, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), National Audubon Society, National Hydropower Association, National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), Natural Resources Council of Maine, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Union of Concerned Scientists.