U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Angus King, I-Maine, yesterday introduced the Storage Technology for Renewable and Green Energy Act of 2013 (STORAGE) to encourage the development of renewable energy as a source of electricity and lower consumer costs through the deployment of energy storage technologies.
Renewable energy sources like wind and solar continue to make up more of the country's energy mix, making it necessary to update the energy grid to better integrate intermittent sources of power. Improving energy storage technologies will enable the use of solar and wind power, especially during peak hours of power usage, providing stability to the energy grid and lessening the need for high-cost peaking electricity.
"Building out more energy storage will increase the amount of renewable power on the grid, reduce our country's need for new power plants and make the U.S. energy system more reliable," Wyden said. "These systems don't make energy -- they make energy better. With all of the attention given to new sources of power, it's only appropriate that energy storage gets its time in the sun."
"Storage systems comprise a broad range of technologies and can be used in a variety of ways," said Senator Collins. "The STORAGE Act aims to help advance energy storage technologies to improve the efficiency of the nation's electricity grid, help lower electricity costs, and make such technologies more affordable for business and residential customers."
"I'm proud to join with my colleagues to introduce the STORAGE Act, which supports the growth of America's energy storage capacity," King said. "As more Mainers and Americans try to regain control of their electrical costs, investing in our nation's renewable energy infrastructure will bring more affordable and sustainable power to a greater number of people. It just makes sense."
Wyden and Collins introduced a previous version of the bill in the last Congress. As in the 2011 version of the bill, the STORAGE Act of 2013 offers a 30 percent investment tax credit to businesses for the use of technologies that can store energy during non-peak hours and distribute it to meet peak electricity demand. The latest version of the bill lowers the qualifying threshold to encourage small businesses to take advantage of on-site storage technologies. The bill also provides a 30% tax credit to homeowners who install energy storage on their property to help serve their own energy needs efficiently or capture energy from on-site renewable energy generation.
Finally, the STORAGE Act provides a 20 percent investment tax credit of up to $40 million per project for grid-scale storage systems. The total amount available for these projects is capped at $1.5 billion. The STORAGE Act does not pick winners or losers in terms of storage technology or the source of energy stored, and instead allows the market to decide which technologies are best suited to meet energy needs.