US spending on grid energy storage R&D is to rise by 32% under a bill signed into law by President Donald Trump— but ambitious proposals for investment tax credits to benefit all energy storage technologies were left out.
According to the US Energy Storage Association (ESA), the omnibus bill will increase investment in grid storage to $41 million, which is “among the biggest” winners in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) fiscal 2018 budget.
But the ESA said the bill “conspicuously left out” a proposed bipartisan Energy Storage Deployment and Incentive Act, “which would clarify the eligibility of all energy storage technologies for investment tax credits—a key demand driver of innovation made available to other technologies like solar power and fuel cells”.
“Also notably absent from the omnibus bill was the Advancing Grid Storage Act, to equip smaller utilities, municipalities, and rural cooperatives with tools to include energy storage in grid design and planning for first-time investments,” the ESA said.
However, the ESA said the legislation would “ensure progress on the next generation of batteries and other storage technologies, which will assist DOE in making the grid more resilient”. But the association warned: “More needs to be done to remove barriers to energy storage and to accelerate its deployment.”
BBB reported earlier this year that proposals by the Trump administration to “subsidise” struggling coal-fired and nuclear plants over support for developing battery storage technologies were rejected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The FERC also scrapped measures that prevented energy storage from competing in the country’s wholesale power markets.