The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has helped NEMA pull together experts from around the country to sit together under the canopy of a transparent working group. We're on the fast track to establishing an Energy Storage Council (ESC) where storage manufacturers and industry stakeholders (e.g., automotive, battery, flow cell, and flywheel, plus utilities, utility equipment manufacturers, national labs, and regulatory agencies) can come together and work to overcome market barriers.
For starters, energy storage manufacturers want federal tax incentives that will enable these emerging-but-proven technologies to operate in concert with a Smart Grid system equal to that of renewables, such as wind, solar, and hydro generators. The NEMA ESC is also currently working out preliminary proposals for several projects including a large-scale military demo program that will utilize all energy storage devices, to enable military installations to become highly energy efficient with reliable electrical supply. Through a large-scale demo program NEMA ESC aims to collect real-time performance and to use case-scenario metrics, whereby functionality and rate-based metrics can be standardized for use by utilities and an energy regulatory overseer. Just as important, demo projects of this size will help enable strategies for appropriate commercialization of energy storage technologies, just as the internet and countless other technologies have been commercialized in the past.
In the end, the NEMA ESC is a great example of how a trade association – like NEMA – provides the right forum to yield positive and significant steps forward to unite stakeholders, create jobs, and help secure energy and our energy security.