DOE throws its weight behind energy storage



Quick Take: Technically speaking, energy storage still hasn't hit the tipping point. It is still too expensive for widespread adoption at grid scale. Yet more and more policymakers are pushing for it anyway, as I explained recently in The 4 reasons grid-scale energy storage is the Next Big Thing.


Now the U.S. Department of Energy has jumped on the "storage now" bandwagon via a report called simply Grid Energy Storage (click to download the PDF). The report sets out specific action to improve energy storage prospects. I was happy to see that it discussed not just the technology issues, but also the need to modify current regulations, which -- in some states -- stymie the deployment of storage at scale.


"The report reinforces our view that storage is an essential component to a more resilient, reliable, and balanced energy grid," said Darrell Hayslip, Chairman of the Electricity Storage Association. "ESA believes that it is not a matter of whether storage will be deployed; it is a matter of how fast that occurs.  Given the focus indicated in this report, DOE is poised to assist in those efforts." - By Jesse Berst


WASHINGTON -  As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to a cleaner, more secure energy future, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today released the Energy Department’s Grid Energy Storage report to the members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The report was commissioned at the request of Senator Ron Wyden, Committee Chairman. The report identifies the benefits of grid energy storage, the challenges that must be addressed to enable broader use, and the efforts of the Energy Department, in conjunction with industry and other government organizations, to meet those challenges. 


"Energy storage is a vital component of a more resilient, reliable and efficient electric grid,” said Secretary Moniz.  "We must continue developing innovative energy storage technologies and finding new ways to ensure wider adoption to help move the nation closer to the grid of the future.” 


The report identifies four challenges that must be addressed to enable energy storage: the development of cost-effective energy storage technologies, validated reliability and safety, an equitable regulatory environment, and industry acceptance.  The need for energy storage in the electric grid is increasing as a result of the growing use of renewable power generation, which varies with wind and solar conditions, and increasing frequency of severe weather caused by climate change. The grid’s evolution toward more distributed energy systems and the incorporation of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids also contributes to the growing interest in grid storage.

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