Gardner, Collins, Heinrich, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Energy Storage Bill

The bipartisan bill authorizes $300 million over five years to reduce the cost of promising grid-scale energy storage systems, similar to DOE’s SunShot Initiative that decreased the price of solar by 75%


Washington, D.C.—In order to accelerate the development of next-generation energy storage, U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Angus King (I-ME) introduced the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act today.  Their bipartisan legislation will support grid-scale energy storage research and development and improve the efficiency of the nation’s electric grid, while helping to align research efforts on energy storage technologies.


“Investing in research and development for energy storage technologies is a key component to an all-of-the-above energy strategy and will allow the United States to remain a global leader in energy research and development,” said Senator Gardner. “As we rely more and more on renewable energy sources like wind and solar, it is critical to invest in energy storage to enhance grid resiliency. This commonsense, bipartisan proposal shows members on both sides of the aisle are committed to working together to pursue technologies that will help our environment and grow our economy.”


“Next generation energy storage devices will help enhance the efficiency and reliability of our electric grid, reduce energy costs, and promote the adoption of renewable resources,” said Senator Collins.  “Our bipartisan legislation would help catalyze the development of this technology that holds great promise in the fight against climate change by supporting clean energy generation, including wind and solar.”


“As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, advocating for the research and development of long-term energy storage has been a top priority,” said Senator Heinrich. “I am proud to join Senator Collins to introduce the Better Energy Storage Technology Act and invest in reshaping the power industry. This bipartisan legislation offers federal agencies and national labs the opportunity to modernize our energy grid with advanced storage technologies that can provide days, even months, of capacity. With advances in solar and wind energy, New Mexico remains a leader in the charge towards a clean energy future. This bill adds the extra spark to boost New Mexico power grids – with the potential to do the same around the globe.”


“We know that enhancing our energy storage capabilities contributes to both our nation’s economic and energy security.” said Senator Smith. “This bipartisan effort will improve our collective efforts to store energy and expand the use of renewables like wind and solar energy.”


“Our top scientists and energy experts tell us that grid-scale storage is crucial to build on the progress we’ve already made to use renewable energy and limit greenhouse gas emissions,” said Senator Coons.  “The BEST Act is a prime example of the concerted, bipartisan effort to invest in energy innovation and American ingenuity. The 5 demonstration projects supported by this legislation will be key in commercializing the technologies we are working to develop across our federal agencies, universities, and National Labs.”


“Storage is the key to fully unlocking the immense potential of renewable energy – providing us with a reserve to maximize clean power,” said Senator King. “If clean energy technology is to truly power America’s future, it’s important that we have effective and long-lasting storage capacity to maximize our natural resources. The bold action we need to respond to the threats of climate change relies on this technology, and I’m proud to join my colleagues to continue to push for much-needed advancements in the field of storage.” 


“Accelerating the development of energy storage technologies is a necessary step toward energy independence and a cleaner energy economy that supports new jobs and cleaner air,” said Kristin Jackson, Federal Policy Outreach Coordinator, Natural Resources Council of Maine.  “These technologies will play an increasingly important role as we transition toward an energy system that includes large volumes of grid-scale power from solar and wind. We commend the Senator for advancing research and development of the innovative technologies we will need to create the electrical grid of the future.”  


“Audubon supports bipartisan solutions that reduce harmful carbon emissions” said Renee Stone, National Audubon Society’s Vice President for Climate. “This is important legislation that will get us to a clean, renewable energy grid faster by investing in the development of storage technologies. Audubon applauds Senators Collins, Heinrich, Gardner, Smith, Coons, McSally, and King for sponsoring legislation that will benefit birds and people by helping carbon-free energy grow as a share of the grid.”


“Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) applauds Senator Collins’ leadership to advance energy solutions,” said CRES Executive Director Heather Reams. “As a CRES Clean Energy Champion, Senator Collins understands the importance of strengthening our nation’s energy storage RD&D programs. The BEST Act ensures that America’s innovative spirit is working toward the rapid commercialization of clean energy technologies, including grid-scale storage research and other breakthrough technologies. CRES supports these efforts as ways to give our nation additional choices for cleaner, reliable, and more affordable sources of power.”


“Grid-scale battery storage is one of the most important and promising technologies to help address climate change, but technology advances are needed to lower costs and accelerate its adoption in the U.S. and around the world,” said Christopher Guith, Acting President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute.  “That’s why we’re proud to support the bipartisan BEST Act, which will increase funding for breakthrough storage solutions to power the grid and complement the continued growth of renewable and other clean generation. We encourage all members of Congress to cosponsor and support passage of this important legislation.”


Grid-scale energy storage systems provide a range of benefits including increased resilience and reliability on the grid.  Next-generation energy storage devices will also complement the growth of clean, renewable resources on the power grid, replacing other sources of energy that release harmful emissions that cause climate change.  In addition to these benefits, energy storage systems can help decrease energy costs by reducing the need for expensive peak power. 


One of the biggest impediments to the commercialization of next generation energy storage systems is cost. This legislation aims to increase the affordability of this technology by directing the Department of Energy (DOE) to pursue a strategic plan and implement cost targets. DOE has successfully demonstrated how federal support for research and development can reduce the cost of innovative technology. For example, DOE’s SunShot Initiative reduced the price of solar by approximately 75 percent in less than a decade.


Specifically, the BEST Act:


  • Focuses grid-scale energy storage research and development on:


  • Highly flexible power systems with a minimum duration of six hours and with a lifetime of at least 8,000 cycles of discharge at full output and 20 years of operation;


  • Long duration storage systems with power output of 10 to roughly 100 hours, with a lifetime of at least 1,500 cycles and 20 years of operations;


  • Seasonal storage systems that can store energy over several months and address seasonality concerns.


  • Supports up to five demonstration projects to advance commercialization of grid-scale energy storage technologies.


  • Directs DOE to develop a strategic plan and cost targets for grid-scale energy storage.


  • Accelerates testing and validation of energy storage systems through our National Laboratories.


  • Requires coordination and alignment of research efforts to produce commercially viable energy storage systems through coordination at DOE, National Laboratories, federal agencies, and end users. 


  • Authorizes $60 million annually for the program from 2020 to 2024.


The BEST Act has been endorsed by the Bipartisan Policy Center, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), ClearPath, the Energy Storage Association, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the National Audubon Society, the National Hydropower Association, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


Click HERE to read the text of the bill.