A $120 million Department of Energy program that helps spur innovation and encourage utilities to implement energy storage technologies could give rise to opportunities for wider implementation of storage technologies, says an issue brief from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI).
A consortium of DOE national labs, universities and private companies will work on advancing storage that supplies community and vehicle needs. The program will work on providing 5 times the energy storage supply at one-fifth the cost of today’s lithium ion storage by 2017.
Fair market access and pricing of the energy storage technologies have gotten help from FERC orders, while the DOE has played a critical role in the research, development and implementation of these technologies, EESI notes. The DOE earmarked $120 million to set up the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research’s battery and energy storage hub last year in Chicago, where the consortium are working on advancing energy storage technologies.
Effective energy storage can help utilities deal with intermittent power supply, shortages and interruptions, but the high cost of research has been a detriment to developing them, says EESI in its brief, which reviews existing storage technologies and the potential opportunities in storage arising from the efforts of the DOE and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Among existing storage technologies, the federal program’s efforts will help develop advanced versions of some like compressed air, pumped hydroelectric and flywheel energy storage. Liquid air, supercapacitors, vanadium air, nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride are some of the other technologies being tested.
EESI notes that energy storage legislation has been introduced in Congress, to provide a 30 percent investment tax credit for businesses that install storage technology. Separate legislation introduced in the Senate focuses on making the master limited partnership (MLP) corporate structure available for renewable energy — the MLP structure has enabled fossil fuel projects to access lower cost capital.
Earlier this month, FERC issued a final rule (No. 784) revising certain aspects of its current market -based rate regulations covering new electric storage technologies, ancillary services requirements under the pro forma open-access transmission tariff (OATT), and accounting and reporting requirements. Specifically, the commission has revised Part 35 of its regulations to reflect reforms to its Avista policy with the aim to foster competition and transparency in ancillary services markets, the FERC said.