Imagine if the US had these three things: access to unlimited electricity from clean sources everywhere in the country, an electricity grid impervious to outages and electricity prices that were even cheaper than they are today. These aspirations can become reality with advancements in energy storage.
This technology was developed right here in the good ole’ US of A, but unfortunately, the US is now falling behind other countries in this increasingly lucrative global market, and our outdated electric grid is growing more vulnerable to increasing threats like cyber-attacks and extreme weather. So how do we regain our leadership in this critical technology, and how can we increase the development and deployment of energy storage here at home? The answer is innovation.
What are the experts in the field saying?
Back in March, with the help of the Bipartisan House Advanced Energy Storage Caucus, UCS convened twenty-one experts on energy storage research, development and demonstration from around the country. The goal was to develop recommendations for congress on how the federal government could best support innovation in this game-changing technology. Our new policy brief, “Federal Support for Electricity Storage Solutions: State Perspectives on Research Development and Demonstration”, synthesizes the convening dialogue and includes a brief analysis of the applications and benefits of energy storage. It also identifies and prioritizes the most important research questions and breakthroughs needed to advance the technology. The brief highlights important ongoing work on energy storage across the federal government. And most importantly, it contains recommendations for policy-makers on how the federal government can best foster and support innovation in energy storage.
We wanted to hear diverse perspectives, so we included a broad cross section of technical experts from different states and regions, including university professors, start-ups, the national labs, small rural electric co-ops and big utility representation, conservative political voices, the defense community, former state and federal officials, and financial analysts.
Three important points of unanimous agreement at the outset of the convening: 1) Energy storage RD&D across the federal government is underfunded relative to the strategic importance of innovation in this technology. 2) “The U.S. is no longer the global leader in energy storage technology.” 3) The private sector is not making the needed investments in energy storage RD&D to achieve transformational change. Specific, strategic efforts are needed by the federal government to advance the technology.
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