By Michael Gergen, David Pettit and Tara Rice

On June 16, 2016, the White House hosted a Summit on Scaling Renewable Energy and Storage with Smart Markets. As a backdrop to the Summit, the Obama Administration announced new executive actions and 33 public and private sector commitments intended to accelerate the grid integration of renewable energy and storage. Together, these actions are expected to result in at least 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage procurement or deployment within the next five years. 

Announced public sector commitments at the federal level include plans by the US Navy to develop a 50-100 megawatt grid-scale battery at the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach in California and a 6 megawatt battery system co-located with a new 7 megawatt solar photovoltaic project, also in California. The US Air Force is also working to move emerging energy storage technologies forward through demonstration projects in Hawaii and Texas. The Department of Energy (DOE) and two DOE-funded laboratories, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, are stepping up efforts to facilitate the use of real-time data from consumers and distributed producers by grid operators and utilities.

In concert with the broader announcement, the White House Council of Economic Advisors released a report, “Incorporating Renewables into the Electric Grid: Expanding Opportunities for Smart Markets and Energy Storage” detailing the market opportunity for energy storage and smart-grid technologies which can ease the grid integration of variable output renewable energy resources. The Report finds, among other things, that the promise of energy storage and other “smart market” technologies can only be met if electricity markets are structured in a way to allow these technologies to provide grid management services and participate in grid management markets in ways that capture their full value to the grid.