On June 5, 2019, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Reducing Cost of Energy Storage Act of 2019, along with three Democratic co-sponsors: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. Originally introduced in 2017, and reintroduced for the 116th Congress, the bill is part of a trio of bills authored by Senator Wyden aimed at speeding the transition to renewable energy. (The partner bills are the Flexible Grid Infrastructure Act and the Distributed Energy Demonstration Act).
The bill directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to establish an energy storage research, development, and demonstration program that would drive down the cost of energy storage technology. The program would have at least four subprograms, focused on large-scale storage, distributed storage, storage of electricity within and for electric vehicles, and battery lifecycle management. The program would set "cost targets" for technologies developed through each subprogram, to drive down their costs of production and deployment to levels that allow for market uptake. The bill would authorize the appropriation of $3.25 billion to fund the program over the next decade.
The bill was one of a bundle of energy-related bills considered by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at a legislative hearing on July 9, 2019, and one of four considered at that hearing focused on energy storage.