With the recent introduction of the Heinrich-Gardner Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act of 2019 (S. 1142), the U.S. could have a solid footing for advancing technologies that allow broader storage of power. The legislation works by expanding the investment tax credits (ITCs) currently available for energy technology investments. Today, the ITCs available allow for a credit for those who install commercial or residential solar power systems. Under S. 1142, that credit would extend to battery storage systems.
“The question of battery storage has always been critical when talking about how intermittent resources can work alongside baseload resources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear power,” explains Energy Fairness Director Paul Griffin. “This legislation is an important next step to making broader battery storage more feasible and Senators Heinrich and Gardner should be commended for their forward-looking vision.”
Advancing battery storage is particularly meaningful in discussions about renewable power. That’s because electricity generated from renewable energy is considered an intermittent resource, as opposed to baseload sources capable of running around the clock. With wind and solar electricity often producing best during off-peak time periods, battery storage is a key component of making those technologies more useful to utilities and grid operators.
As Senator Gardner notes, advancement in battery storage is crucial if we are to facilitate the transformation of renewables from intermittent to more reliable sources of electricity. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there are 700 megawatts of installed battery storage in the U.S., with storage increasing every day. Projects in the pipeline range from an important battery project in Colorado run by not-for-profit and consumer-owned United Power in Brighton, Colorado, to the announcement by Florida Power Light in April that it intends to build the largest solar-based battery storage system in the world.
During a decade of advocacy on energy issues, Energy Fairness has advocated for a “more of the above” approach to energy resources that calls on many resources to work to the benefit of the grid and consumers. The Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act is a sensible approach to making a number of energy resources more useful. We commend Senators Heinrich and Gardner for its introduction.