U.S. Congress introduces “Better Energy Storage Technology” Act to increase battery R&D

U.S. Congress introduces “Better Energy Storage Technology” Act to increase battery R&D

Legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate this week to encourage the development of energy storage systems in the United States. In the House, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act of 2019, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Congressman Sean Casten (D-IL), and Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH). Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Angus King (I-ME) introduced a companion BEST Act in the Senate.

The bipartisan legislation aims to support grid-scale energy storage R&D and improve the efficiency of the nation’s electric grid, while helping to align research efforts on energy storage technologies.

“Next generation energy storage devices will help enhance the efficiency and reliability of our electric grid, reduce energy costs, and promote the adoption of renewable resources,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan legislation would help catalyze the development of this technology that holds great promise in the fight against climate change by supporting clean energy generation, including wind and solar.”

“If enacted, the BEST Act will authorize the Department of Energy to undertake new public-private partnerships for proving promising electrochemical, thermal, and physical storage technologies in actual electric grid operations. Doing so will ensure a fuller range of storage options is available to meet the needs of a 21st century electric system,” said Energy Storage Association CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman.

The BEST Act legislation aims to increase the affordability of this technology by directing the DOE to pursue a strategic plan and implement cost targets.

Specifically, the BEST Act:

  • Focuses grid-scale energy storage research and development on:
    - Highly flexible power systems with a minimum duration of six hours and with a lifetime of at least 8,000 cycles of discharge at full output and 20 years of operation;
    - Long duration storage systems with power output of 10 to roughly 100 hours, with a lifetime of at least 1,500 cycles and 20 years of operations;
    - Seasonal storage systems that can store energy over several months and address seasonality concerns.
  • Supports up to five demonstration projects to advance commercialization of grid-scale energy storage technologies.
  • Directs DOE to develop a strategic plan and cost targets for grid-scale energy storage.
  • Accelerates testing and validation of energy storage systems through the country’s National Laboratories.
  • Requires coordination and alignment of research efforts to produce commercially viable energy storage systems through coordination at DOE, National Laboratories, federal agencies, and end users.
  • Authorizes $60 million annually for the program from 2020 to 2024.

 

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