Collins Bill to Advance Energy Storage Technology Signed into Law

The bipartisan BEST Act will promote new technologies, align research, and reduce the cost of promising energy storage systems that help fight climate change

Washington, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation to accelerate the development of next-generation energy storage was signed into law.  The Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act, authored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Tina Smith (D-MN), will support grid-scale energy storage research and development and improve the efficiency of the nation’s electric grid, while helping to align research efforts on energy storage technologies.

 

“Energy storage technology holds such great promise in the fight against climate change. Supporting current technology and advancing next-generation energy storage will allow us to integrate more renewables, such as wind and solar, which in turn will help to reduce emissions,” Senator Collins said. “The BEST Act will advance energy storage technologies, improve the efficiency of our nation’s electricity grid, and help align research efforts on energy storage. I am delighted that this bipartisan piece of legislation is now law and will help shape our clean energy future.”

 

“As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, advocating for the research and development of long-term energy storage has been a top priority,” said Senator Heinrich. “I am proud to see the Better Energy Storage Technology Act signed into law so that we can truly invest in reshaping the power industry. This bipartisan effort offers federal agencies and national labs the opportunity to modernize our energy grid with advanced storage technologies that can provide days, even months, of capacity. With advances in solar and wind energy, New Mexico remains a leader in the charge towards a clean energy future. Signing this bill into law adds the extra spark to boost New Mexico power grids – with the potential to do the same around the globe.” 

 

“When we expand energy storage capabilities, we can increase our use of renewables like wind and solar while contributing to our nation’s energy and economic security,” said Senator Smith. “This is a great step forward for our country and the clean energy future, and I’m pleased that parts of my Promoting Grid Storage Act are included in this bipartisan legislation soon to become law.”

 

“We will never realize the promise of a clean energy future without significant advances in our ability to store and access power generated from renewable sources,” said Heather Reams, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions. “The BEST Act helps activate our most precious natural resource, America’s capability to innovate, in order to develop new energy storage technologies and more secure, more resilient energy grids. Energy storage may not be the most glamorous or exciting clean energy subject, but it is absolutely fundamental to driving the entire industry forward. Congratulations, Senator Collins, for successfully championing this legislation and thank you for doing the hard work it takes to bring us closer to our clean energy future.” 

 

“The inclusion of the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act as part of the year-end spending and relief package is further proof of the bipartisan, bicameral support for energy storage to improve grid reliability and flexibility,” said U.S. Energy Storage Association CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman. “Congress has recognized the critical role of energy storage in building a clean energy future. We commend Senator Collins and Senator Heinrich, along with Representatives Casten, Foster, and Herrera Beutler, for their leadership in introducing this important legislation.”

 

“Senator Collins has been one of the strongest leaders in the U.S. Senate for clean energy innovation, and her bill, the BEST Act included in the omnibus, will encourage all types of grid-scale energy storage technologies, including those that will address long duration and seasonal duration challenges,” said Rich Powell, Executive Director of ClearPath Action.  "By reorienting the federal grid scale storage research, development, and demonstration program we will set ambitious technology goals necessary to facilitate important breakthroughs for the grid of the future with far lower carbon emissions.”

 

Energy storage provides a range of benefits including increased resilience and reliability on the grid.  Supporting current and next-generation energy storage devices will complement the growth of clean, renewable resources on the power grid, replacing other sources of energy that release harmful emissions that cause climate change.  In addition to these benefits, energy storage systems can help decrease energy costs by reducing the need for expensive peak power.

 

One of the biggest impediments to the commercialization of energy storage systems is cost. This legislation aims to increase the affordability of this technology by supporting Department of Energy (DOE) research, planning and technical assistance, and demonstration and pilot projects. DOE has successfully demonstrated how federal support for research and development can reduce the cost of innovative technology. For example, DOE’s SunShot Initiative reduced the price of solar by approximately 75 percent in less than a decade.

 

The BEST Act includes the following provisions:

 

  • Research and Development:  Requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to establish a cross-cutting energy storage system research and development program with the goal of reducing the cost and extending the duration of energy storage systems. 

 

  • Demonstration Projects: Requires DOE to undertake three energy storage system demonstration projects, including a minimum of one project designed to address seasonal variations in supply and demand. 

 

  • Technical and Planning Assistance:  Establishes a program at DOE to assist electric utilities with identifying, evaluating, planning, designing, and developing processes to procure energy storage systems.

 

  • Joint Long-Duration Demonstration Initiative:  Establishes a joint program between DOE and the Department of Defense to demonstrate long-duration storage technologies.

 

  • Recycling Program:  Establishes a program at DOE to advance the recycling of critical energy storage materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite.

 

The legislation is supported by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Bipartisan Policy Center, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), ClearPath, Energy Storage Association, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), National Audubon Society, National Hydropower Association, National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), Natural Resources Council of Maine, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Union of Concerned Scientists.