WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, today spoke at the White House summit on Scaling Renewable Energy and Storage with Smart Markets, where he underscored the importance of energy storage, modernizing our electric grid, and growing our nation's clean energy economy. The event brought U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall together with utilities, industry representatives, energy storage developers, state officials, federal representatives, and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) to discuss opportunities to encourage growth in the nation's renewable energy sector.
"Today's discussion underscored how rapidly our nation's energy production and transmission systems are transforming before our eyes," said Sen. Heinrich. "Our grid is beginning to behave very differently. Customers are becoming generators and new technologies have made transmission a two-way street. The competitive prices from clean sources of energy -- from large wind farms and solar fields to rooftop solar -- and the rapidly declining cost of energy storage are quickly changing the game. As generation and storage technologies improve and become less expensive in the coming years, economics will drive new electrical generation consistently in the direction of clean, pollution-free power. Thousands of workers in New Mexico already work in the renewable energy sector, and with our incredible potential for both solar and wind and innovative research and development at our national laboratories and universities, the state is poised to become a major producer and exporter of clean power."
Senator Heinrich is a leading voice on building a more secure and robust 21st century energy infrastructure, which is critical to realizing the nation's true clean energy potential and creating jobs.
In April, Senator Heinrich voted to pass the Energy Policy Modernization Act, a bipartisan energy bill where he secured key provisions for New Mexico to boost the state's energy industry. Senator Heinrich supported legislation in the bill that provides for a $500 million, 10-year applied Research & Development program in grid-scale storage--more than triple the current level of federal investment to address the ongoing challenges of the high costs of materials and production, reliability and safety, and the lack of industry acceptance of these technologies.
In December, Senator Heinrich secured robust investments in clean energy production as part of a major wide-ranging energy agreement. Extending federal clean energy tax incentives will provide substantial certainty in an industry that has been plagued by one year at a time tax policy and encourage construction of more utility-scale wind and solar generation.
Senator Heinrich is also the author of the Energy Storage Promotion and Deployment Act, a bill to create America's first energy storage standard. The bill would establish an energy storage portfolio standard for electric utility companies. Energy Storage will help bolster system resilience during emergencies and outages by storing energy produced by a variety of sources; to integrate diverse resources, such as variable generation and demand response; to provide reliable, supplemental services to the electric grid and to help displace new investment in fossil fuel generation.
Senator Heinrich is developing new legislation to provide tax incentives to promote deployment of energy storage in all applications.