On May 22, 2019, Senator Susan Collins (R, Maine) introduced a bi-partisan bill to accelerate the development of grid-scale energy storage systems, by creating and funding a multi-year research and development program to be spearheaded by the Department of Energy.
Specifically, the bill would create a research, development, and demonstration program for grid-scale energy storage systems to be led by the Department of Energy's Office of Electricity, and funded with an annual appropriation of $60m for the next five years.
Through amendments to the US Energy Storage Technology Act of 2007, the new bill calls on DOE to:
- Develop cost-effective grid-scale energy storage systems that can provide power to the electric grid for 10-100 hours at a time, and can store energy over several months toaddress seasonal variations in supply and demand.
- By 2023, enter into agreements to carry out up to five grid-scale energy storage system demonstration projects over the life of the program.
- Accelerate the standardized testing and validation of grid-scale energy storage systems with one or more of the National Labs.
- Coordinate its efforts internally, and with other federal agencies such as DOD, NSF, FERC and the Department of Commerce.
Senator Collins hopes that the bill, if passed, will "help enhance the efficiency and reliability of our electric grid, reduce energy costs, and promote the adoption of renewable resources.” She is joined in sponsoring the bill by Senator Heinrich (D-NM), Senator Gardner (R-CO), Senator Smith (D-MN), Senator Coons (D-DE), Senator McSally (R-AZ), and Senator King (I-ME).