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US legislation to favour energy storage

Tue, 07/30/2013 - 18:36 -- Ruth Williams

A bill has been introduced in the US Congress as part of legislation surrounding energy storage to create investment tax credit for all types of energy storage technology.

Called the Storage Technology for Renewable and Green Energy (STORAGE) Act, it will benefit anyone who is investing in energy storage technology by way of investment tax credit (ITC) and clean renewable energy bonds (CREBS) up to US$1.5 billion.

This is the third time the bill has been introduced to Congress, previously not receiving sufficient backing. This time it is receiving support throughout both Houses and gaining additional co-sponsors. “Energy storage always receives good support, it is never viewed with a negative reaction; everybody has ben pretty positive in receiving energy storage as a concept and accepting of a range of technologies,” said Katherine Hamilton, Policy Director for the Electricity Storage Association (ESA).

“The market has huge potential in the US for the coming years, we expect huge additional deployments if this goes through.” According to a 2012 study by Kema for the Copper Development Association, an additional 1500 MW of storage capacity is anticipated if a tax credit is introduced.

The Bill would be beneficial at every stage of the grid, including homeowners with home energy storage, to anyone investing in the technology. A bond or tax credit would be given depending upon their tax circumstances.

“The US is going through a tax reform, but nothing is certain in Congress! The two issues are, firstly, will something be done on taxes, and secondly, if it is, will they allow this bill to be included. We have to put our best effort into it,” Hamilton said.

“There is a large grass roots support to show there is a public and commercial demand for energy storage. I’m not a betting person but we are doing everything we can give this the best chance. Everyday the ESA is lobbying, we are educating people about how the technology helps everyone on the grid and storage is beneficial to all,” she added.

The ESA is also working to promote the other provisions in legislation, including the Master Limited Partnership Parity Act to increase private investment in the technology markets with a separate provision for energy storage. There is further legislation to allow small pre-revenue companies to receive research and development tax credits when previously only revenue-positive companies could apply.