Senator Collins Urges Colleagues to Support Her Energy Storage Bill to Fight Climate Change, Accelerate Use of Renewables

The Bipartisan BEST Act would authorize $300 million over five years to reduce the cost of promising grid-scale energy storage systems

Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ testimony

Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ testimony.  Click HERE to download high-resolution video.

 

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins testified at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing on the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act, legislation she introduced earlier this year with Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) to accelerate the development of next-generation energy storage.  The BEST Act would 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.

 

The bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Angus King (I-ME).

 

“Energy storage technology holds such great promise in the fight against climate change. Advancing next-generation energy storage technology will allow us to integrate more renewables, such as wind and solar, which in turn will help to reduce emissions,” said Senator Collins.  “The BEST Act would help advance energy storage technologies to improve the efficiency of the nation’s electricity grid, while helping to promote wider use of clean, renewable energy.  I encourage my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill.”

 

Grid-scale energy storage systems provide a range of benefits including increased resilience and reliability on the grid.  Next-generation energy storage devices will also 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 next generation energy storage systems is cost. This legislation aims to increase the affordability of this technology by directing the Department of Energy (DOE) to pursue a strategic plan and implement cost targets. 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.

 

Specifically, the BEST Act would:

 

  • Focus grid-scale energy storage research and development on highly flexible, longer duration, and seasonal storage systems; 

 

  • Support up to five demonstration projects to advance commercialization of grid-scale energy storage technologies;

 

  • Direct DOE to develop a strategic plan and cost targets for grid-scale energy storage;

  

  • Require coordination and alignment of research efforts to produce commercially viable energy storage systems through coordination at DOE, National Laboratories, federal agencies, and end users; and

 

  • Authorize $60 million annually for the program from 2020 to 2024.

 

The BEST Act has been endorsed by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Bipartisan Policy Center, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), ClearPath, the Energy Storage Association, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the National Audubon Society, the National Hydropower Association, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

 

Click HERE to read the text of the bill.