U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Rep. Sean Casten, Senate and House Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Nation’s Energy Storage Capabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C. [05/22/2019]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Representative Sean Casten (D-Ill.)—along with a bipartisan group of Senate and House colleagues—introduced their Promoting Grid Storage Act of 2019, which would boost research and development of cutting-edge technologies to increase energy storage capabilities for America’s electric grid and enable the expanded use of clean energy. 

In addition to Sen. Smith and Rep. Casten, the bill is also supported by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Reps. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt).

“Expanding American energy storage capabilities helps expand the use of renewables like wind and solar energy, and contributes to our nation’s energy and economic security,” said Sen. Smith. “Our bipartisan bill will help significantly improve our collective efforts to store energy by increasing energy storage research and expanding the deployment of energy storage technologies.”

Casten said, “Expanding access to clean energy through increases in grid-scale energy storage is fundamental to addressing climate change, enhancing our Nation’s energy security, and bolstering our economy. The transition to a low-carbon, clean energy economy requires a commitment to research, demonstration, and deployment of new and improved energy storage systems across the grid. Increasing energy storage can also help increase the reliability and resiliency of the electrical system, which is vital to keeping our communities safe and our economy strong. I’m proud to join Senator Smith to introduce this bipartisan bill, and I look forward to our continued work to help discover and deploy the ground-breaking energy storage technologies we need to help tackle the climate crisis.”

“Unlocking the next generation of energy storage technology will unleash the potential of renewable energy and will be a powerful tool to help slow climate change.  This legislation takes a holistic approach to advance promising research and support technical assistance for all types of energy storage,” said Senator Collins. “Together with the BEST Act, which I introduced along with Senators Heinrich, Smith, Gardner, and a bipartisan group of Senators to promote grid-scale energy storage, we are making significant strides to promote clean, renewable energy. I urge our colleagues to join us in this bipartisan effort.”

“Making energy storage cheaper and more available will help cut energy bills for homes and businesses, while helping Hawaii reach its goal of 100% renewable power. The bill will speed up development and use of new storage technologies and make it easier for people to learn how to make the best use of energy storage systems in their businesses and communities. As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I will continue to fight for investments in the clean energy economy as we transition to a cleaner, more sustainable future,” Senator Hirono said.

“Expanding our energy storage capabilities will help keep our nation at the forefront of global innovation and strengthen our military, since low-weight, longer lasting batteries lighten troops’ packs and allow them to carry more gear,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation that will support the work of our National Laboratories like Argonne in Illinois, which is leading the nation in the development of more efficient grid storage technology.”

“The Promoting Grid Storage Act ensures Nevada continues to be at the forefront of green energy production and innovation. I’m proud that Nevada is a leader in building a clean-energy future that offers good-paying jobs and protects the planet from climate change. Improved energy grid storage puts Nevada’s considerable renewable energy resources to work, and strengthens our economy in the process.” – Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

“Increasing energy storage for renewable resources, like wind and solar, opens the door for New Mexicans to have access to a power grid that is more resilient, reliable, cost-effective, and available during emergencies,” said Sen. Heinrich. “The Promoting Grid Storage Act encourages the production of long-lasting energy storage systems and the deployment of their benefits to the people of New Mexico, and across the United States. By investing in modernizing our energy infrastructure we can create jobs, help drive down costs for countless families and businesses, and take steps to build a cleaner, brighter future.”

“By expanding the use of clean energy, we can help combat climate change, create jobs, and support our economy,” Senator Hassan said. “This bipartisan legislation will help increase energy storage capabilities throughout our electric grid and lead to an increase in the use of clean energy.”
Energy Storage Association CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman said, “We commend Senator Smith and Congressman Casten for introducing the Promoting Grid Storage Act with a bipartisan group of co-sponsors in the Senate and House. Energy storage is critical to enabling grid operators to enhance resilience, lower spending on spare capacity and adapt to a changing supply mix. Importantly, if enacted, the Promoting Grid Storage Act will authorize the Department of Energy to provide resources to states, utilities, municipalities and electric cooperatives to improve how storage is incorporated into long-term planning and grid operations. This will reduce barriers to storage deployment, particularly for smaller utilities, and enable more flexible and resilient electric system operations suited to 21st century demands. ESA is pleased to endorse the Promoting Grid Storage Act and notes that Sen. Smith, Rep. Casten, and their colleagues join a diverse and growing set of leading legislators in the House and Senate who all agree that advancing energy storage is a priority.”

The Promoting Grid Storage Act of 2019 would divide $1.05 billion in authorized funding over five years to:

Improve coordination and collaboration of the Department of Energy (DOE) energy storage research efforts, which are currently fragmented across several programs.
Fund DOE grants to assist and boost public and private entities wishing to expand their energy storage capabilities.
Provide grants for pilot storage systems with a goal of moving promising energy-storage technologies from the laboratory to wide-scale deployment.
Organizations that have endorsed the bill include NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association), APPA (American Public Power Association), the Energy Storage Association, and the American Wind Energy Association.