Bill to further energy storage research and development signed into law

Legislation designed to accelerate energy storage development was signed into law this week as part of the omnibus package.

The Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act, authored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Tina Smith (D-MN), requires the Department of Energy to establish an energy storage system research and development program.

“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,” 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.”

The BEST Act also requires the DOE to undertake three energy storage system demonstration projects and establish a program to assist electric utilities with developing processes to procure energy storage systems. In addition, it calls for the establishment of a joint program between DOE and the Department of Defense to demonstrate long-duration storage technologies. Finally, it calls for creating a program at DOE to advance the recycling of critical energy storage materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite.

“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,” Heinrich said. “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.”

The legislation is backed 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.

“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,” Smith said. “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.”

Dave Kovaleski

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