Sen. Heinrich, FERC Chairman Promote Storage as Vital for Clean Energy Economy

Policy Forum Speakers Discuss Top Five Energy Storage Trends for 2019

WASHINGTONFeb. 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Federal and state officials stressed the importance of energy storage in the clean energy economy and the need for a supportive regulatory environment at the Energy Storage Association's annual Policy Forum in Washington, D.C.

More than 200 energy storage industry stakeholders and leaders in attendance heard U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) announce plans to introduce bipartisan legislation to expand the Investment Tax Credit to include standalone energy storage. He said that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) would co-sponsor the bill.

"The deployment of storage needs to be at the center of our ongoing effort to move toward a cleaner and more reliable electrical grid," Heinrich said. "We know that renewables grow from strong and enduring tax policy and I am proud to announce that I will soon be reintroducing the Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act."

In 2018, cities and states across the country set ambitious targets to reach 100 percent clean energy, and energy storage will play a key role in helping them reach those goals. Keynote speaker Neil Chatterjee, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), discussed regulations that open the markets for storage to compete on a level playing field with other technologies. Specifically, FERC Order 841, which will be implemented in 2019, could dramatically boost the market for investment in energy storage.

"I believe in the potential of storage to be a transformative technology for our grid," said FERC Chairman Chatterjee. "Storage is a game changer. I see exciting potential to lower costs and enhance reliability for customers."

Also at the event, ESA CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman discussed the top energy storage trends that the industry must prepare for in 2019.  

"ESA and the storage industry as a whole saw momentous growth in 2018," said Speakes-Backman, CEO of ESA. "We are excited to work with our member companies to ensure that 2019 sees a continued expansion of the energy storage landscape and an inclusion and integration of more viewpoints, applications, and technologies."

The top five energy storage trends for 2019:

Investment Tax Credit (ITC) 
Storage is already eligible for the federal ITC when paired with solar, but bipartisan, bicameral legislation would clarify the eligibility of standalone storage. In turn, this would level the playing field for all energy technologies and send economic signals that trigger long-term investment in the U.S. The energy storage industry supported over 90,000 jobs in 2017, according to the U.S. Energy and Employment Report, but an ITC would generate even more jobs across the nation. The ITC is scheduled to sunset in 2023, so experts expect more projects to come online in 2019.

Storage as Transmission 
Energy storage technologies are now a cost-effective grid-scale resource. Further, energy storage for transmission ensures that electricity transmission lines, substations and other equipment have enough bandwidth to handle peak demand. Energy storage systems are a less expensive alternative to building new grid infrastructure, such as feeder lines and substations. Increases in load growth and rising peak demand cause congestion on networks and create reliability issues. To solve this, global installed energy storage power capacity for transmission deferral is expected to grow from 331.7 MW in 2017 to 14,324.8 MW in 2026, according to Navigant Research.

StoragePLUS 
In 2018, there were record numbers of solar-plus-storage power-purchase agreements, and more renewable technologies recognize the benefit of paring with storage. With stronger growth in residential solar-storage systems and an increasing number of state energy storage incentives and renewable targets, the U.S. is likely to see a projected 21 percent growth of global storage plus installations, according to Greentech Media.

Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) 
Leading utility, power resource planning professionals and industry experts are working together on emerging operational issues, environmental mandates, variable energy resources, regulatory policies, and uncertainty factors that now dominate IRP planning requirements. With this in mind, IRPs need to be updated to consider advanced energy storage as a viable option for system capacity – a topic addressed in this June 2018 report by ESA. Electric utilities plan to invest billions of dollars in new and replacement capacity over the next several years, so now is the time to include storage in resource planning to ensure least-cost solutions for ratepayers and prudent, long-term reliability for investors.

FERC Order 841 
It's been almost a year since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously approved Order 841 – a landmark rule directing regional grid operators to allow energy storage resources to compete in wholesale markets on a level playing field with other energy resources. In the months since this milestone ruling, the Energy Storage Association (ESA) and member companies have engaged in stakeholder processes across the country to advocate on behalf of the storage industry as Order 841 compliance plans took shape. With implementation on the horizon in 2019, understanding timelines and next steps is pertinent to unlocking the full potential of energy storage.

The industry will address these five trends and more at its Annual Conference & Expo, slated for April 16 – 18, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona.

About the Energy Storage Association
The Energy Storage Association (ESA) is the national trade association dedicated to energy storage, working toward a more resilient, efficient, sustainable and affordable electricity grid – as is uniquely enabled by energy storage. With more than 170 members, ESA represents a diverse group of companies, including independent power producers, electric utilities, energy service companies, financiers, insurers, law firms, installers, manufacturers, component suppliers and integrators involved in deploying energy storage systems around the globe. More information is available at: www.energystorage.org.