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July 28, 2022

As Senate Considers Historic Climate Legislation, King Urges Investments in Energy Storage

King gets agreement from Biden administration on importance of energy storage for decarbonizing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today urged a top Biden administration official to invest in storage technologies as the country works to transition to clean energy and confront the challenges of climate change. In a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, King stressed the “golden opportunity” energy storage presents as the Senate considers climate legislation, and asked Kelly Speakes-Backman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, to reaffirm the importance of the game changing technologies. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Speakes-Backman agreed with King, saying energy storage was key to making the “entire system more efficient.”

“In terms of energy and renewable energy, to me the golden opportunity is energy storage. If we can crack cost efficient, effective energy storage we can move to an entirely fossil free energy grid because of wind and solar we know can supply the power. But the question is what happens when the wind doesn't blow and it's not sunny,” said Senator King. “So I hope storage and storage is part of the bill that we'll be discussing next week. We've passed several bills, but I hope that's a high priority. I can't think of something that could make a bigger difference in a shorter period of time than the development of grid scale, economically viable storage.”

“Thank you for your thoughts on that subject. I couldn't agree with you more,” replied Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Speakes-Backman. “The department is focused very much on not only the clean energy technologies that can produce the power, but how can we get our entire system more efficient in terms of grid and for energy storage, including batteries? How can we get the carbon out of our transportation sector?”

“If we can develop the storage capacity in the clean grid and electrify transportation and electrify with heat pumps, that's probably 75% of the carbon budget,” concluded Senator King.  

As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator King has advocated for climate solutions that support Maine communities and has been one of the Senate’s most vocal advocates for improving energy storage as a way to unlock America’s clean energy future. He worked to include significant energy storage investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including his Battery Material Processing and Component Manufacturing Act to boost domestic production of batteries, and the Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling Act of 2021 to incentivize the recycling of single use and rechargeable batteries.

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