This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

December 18, 2013

Energy Department Releases Grid Energy Storage Report

The Energy Department on December 12 released its Grid Energy Storage report to the members of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The report identifies the benefits of grid energy storage, the challenges that must be addressed to enable broader use, and the efforts of the Energy Department—in conjunction with industry and other government organizations—to meet those challenges.

The report identifies four challenges that must be addressed to enable energy storage: the development of cost-effective energy storage technologies, validated reliability and safety, an equitable regulatory environment, and industry acceptance. The need for energy storage in the electric grid is increasing as a result of the growing use of renewable power generation, which varies with wind and solar conditions, and increasing frequency of severe weather caused by climate change. The grid’s evolution toward more distributed energy systems and the incorporation of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids also contributes to the growing interest in grid storage.

The storage report, developed by the Energy Department with input from industry, academia, and government stakeholders, identifies efforts to address each of the four key challenges. Some of the key strategic actions are: cost-competitive energy storage technology achieved through research; resolving economic and performance barriers; and creating analytical tools for design, manufacturing, innovation, and deployment.

The reliability and safety of energy storage technologies can be validated through research and development, creation of standard testing protocols, independent testing against utility requirements, and documenting the performance of installed systems. The challenges can also be met by establishing an equitable regulatory environment by conducting public-private evaluations of grid benefits; exploring technology-neutral mechanisms for monetizing grid services; and developing industry and regulatory agency-accepted standards for siting, grid integration, procurement, and performance evaluation.

Finally, industry acceptance can be achieved through field trials and demonstrations and the use of industry-accepted planning and operational tools to incorporate storage onto the grid. See the Energy Department press release and the complete report.