The US electric grid is seeing a lot of changes as more renewable energy comes online across all levels from utility-scale renewable energy to rooftop solar. The changes will require the US electric grid to become more flexible and incorporate energy storage and more. Now, a new bill introduced by Sens. Al Franken (D-MN) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) would help achieve that while creating new jobs.
The Senators introduced the Advancing Grid Storage Act. “Investing in 21st century energy infrastructure is good for families, businesses, and communities in Minnesota and across the country,” Franken said. “My legislative proposal would modernize our energy technologies, bring more jobs to Minnesota, save money and make energy delivery more efficient and reliable.” He has previously supported other energy storage legislation.
Overall, the bill would establish over $1 billion in funds to support the expansion of energy storage for the grid. Two of its efforts, establishing a technical assistance program for energy storage and supporting the demonstration and deployment of energy storage systems, will each receive $500 million over five years.
The demonstration and deployment program will offer matching grants of up to 50 percent and up to $5 million. The bill also would fund research and development for advanced energy storage systems through the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) with $50 million a year to help drive down the cost of energy storage.
“Energy storage complements renewable resources like wind and solar to increase full-time availability and provide backup power in case of emergencies,” Heinrich said. “By investing in modernizing our energy infrastructure we can help make our electrical grid more resilient and reliable, while helping families and businesses save money. This bill encourages innovation to promote clean energy storage, and will help create clean energy jobs in New Mexico and across the country.”
The bill sponsors said that by investing in energy storage it will not only improve the grid across the country but also will create high-skill, sustainable jobs while reducing energy costs. The bill also will help reduce the amount of energy wasted on the electric grid cost effectively by reducing the need for more expensive power from peaker plants during high usage times. It also will help ensure there’s better access to electricity during power interruptions.
The bill, put forward by two minority Senators, in a Republican-controlled Congress, but isn’t likely to pass. It shows where such legislation could go in the future.Tweet