March 01, 2018

Planning for a Rainy Day: The Future of Energy Storage and the Policies Driving Its Growth

Krista Hughes and Stacey Simone Garfinkle

In March 2017, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that electricity generated from wind and solar resources exceeded 10 percent of the total electricity generated in the United States for the first time, marking an important milestone for the U.S. renewable energy industry. Because these renewable resources generate electricity intermittently—only when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining—the dramatic growth in the use of these resources has created a parallel and increasingly urgent need for energy storage capacity. Until recently, energy storage technologies were far too expensive to be commercially viable. Federal and state policies over the last several years, however, have helped bring down the cost of these technologies and laid a strong foundation for energy storage technologies to thrive over the next several years. While both the federal and state governments have played an important role in laying this foundation, in the absence of federal action on this issue under the current administration, states are well positioned to take the lead in encouraging future growth in the energy storage sector.

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