Energy Storage News – US infrastructure bill: What the energy storage industry thinks about the historic, bipartisan legislation
US President Joe Biden is about to finally sign into law the trillion-dollar Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), aka the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, which Congress passed on 6 November.
Together the bill — which Biden is expected to sign today — and the Build Back Better Framework on which lawmakers are still negotiating ahead of voting, “add up to the largest effort to combat climate change in the history of the United States,” the president tweeted earlier this month.
As the infrastructure deal passed the Senate in August, it was welcomed by industry associations the GridWise Alliance and Energy Storage Association (ESA), as well as by long-duration iron flow battery company ESS Inc and Hitachi Energy (then known as Hitachi ABB Power Grids).
Now that the infrastructure deal finally looks to be in the bag, what does it really mean and what does the energy storage industry think about it? Energy-Storage.news gathered some views.
Ameresco is a provider of clean energy solutions, for customers that include federal agencies, utilities, businesses, hospitals, universities. Typically, the company will wrap up a contract that promises to reduce its customers’ energy costs and environmental impact while adding resiliency and back up power using a combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, with a growing emphasis on battery storage’s role.
It also executes large utility-scale projects, as evidenced by a recent 2GWh battery storage contract with California utility Southern California Edison.
“It was great to see Congress come together on a bipartisan basis to pass a transformative bill that not only addresses our outdated grid infrastructure, but also invests in new, innovative technologies like energy storage to ensure the US remains at the forefront of the energy sector,” Nicole Bulgarino, executive vice president and general manager of federal solutions for Ameresco, tells Energy-Storage.news.
Investments created by the legislation will facilitate the deployment of energy storage, invest in tech innovation and help ensure the US has robust supply chains. Not only will these bolster national security, they will also “ensure regions across the country are sharing in the benefits of this rapidly growing industry”.
The investment in new technologies will drive innovation and boost the US industry’s competitiveness, Bulgarino says, citing the examples of the initiatives to support second-life applications for EV batteries, codes and standards and the creation of a new Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations within the Department of Energy to facilitate new technology demonstrations.
“To meet our climate goals, our nation needs a reliable, resilient, and efficient grid that can support clean energy generation and respond to worsening natural disasters,” Bulgarino says.
“Energy storage will play a key role in the transition to this modern power system. This legislation includes much needed investments to support storage deployment and facilitate greater clean energy adoption.”
As with the ESA’s statement, Nicole Bulgarino of Ameresco notes that tax credits will have a massive role to play in accelerating the clean energy transition. As well as welcoming the stimulating role in the supply-side that the infrastructure bill would play, Bulgarino says it was good to see the package also include targeted funding for clean energy investments in underserved areas, such as current and former mine lands.
These, she says, “will help ensure the benefits of the clean energy sector are being shared across the country”.
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Energy Storage News
By: Andy Colthorpe