Senate bill encourages electricity storage system deployment

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Angus King, I-Maine, have introduced the Storage Technology for Renewable and Green Energy Act of 2013 (STORAGE) to encourage the development of renewable energy.

Renewables like wind and solar continue to make up more of the country’s energy mix, making it necessary to update the energy grid to better integrate these intermittent sources of power, the senators said in a May 24 statement. Improving energy storage technologies will enable the use of solar and wind power, especially during peak hours of power usage, providing stability to the energy grid and lessening the need for high-cost peaking electricity.

“Building out more energy storage will increase the amount of renewable power on the grid, reduce our country’s need for new power plants and make the U.S. energy system more reliable,” Wyden said. “These systems don’t make energy – they make energy better. With all of the attention given to new sources of power, it’s only appropriate that energy storage gets its time in the sun.”

“Storage systems comprise a broad range of technologies and can be used in a variety of ways,” said Collins. “The STORAGE Act aims to help advance energy storage technologies to improve the efficiency of the nation’s electricity grid, help lower electricity costs, and make such technologies more affordable for business and residential customers.”

“I’m proud to join with my colleagues to introduce the STORAGE Act, which supports the growth of America’s energy storage capacity,” King said. “As more Mainers and Americans try to regain control of their electrical costs, investing in our nation’s renewable energy infrastructure will bring more affordable and sustainable power to a greater number of people. It just makes sense.”

Tax credits would go to three categories of storage projects

The STORAGE 2013 Act is substantially similar to the STORAGE Act of 2011, which failed to win passage. It offers investment tax credits for three categories of energy storage facilities that temporarily store energy for delivery or use at a later time. Pumped hydro, compressed air, batteries, flywheels, and thermal storage are all eligible technologies as are smart-grid enabled plug-in electric vehicles.

The categories are:

  • The STORAGE Act of 2013 (S. 1030) offers a 30% investment tax credit to businesses for the use of technologies that can store energy during non-peak hours and distribute it to meet peak electricity demand. The latest version of the bill lowers the qualifying threshold to encourage small businesses to take advantage of on-site storage technologies.
  • The bill provides a 30% tax credit to homeowners who install energy storage on their property to help serve their own energy needs efficiently or capture energy from on-site renewable energy generation.
  • The STORAGE Act provides a 20% investment tax credit of up to $40m per project for grid-scale storage systems. The total amount available for these projects is capped at $1.5bn.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.