Clean Power

Published on June 17th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill


Obama Administration Rolls Out Federal & Private Sector Actions To Scale Energy Storage

June 17th, 2016 by  

The Obama Administration has announced a series of federal and private sector actions to scale energy storage in the US.

At the Summit on Scaling Renewable Energy and Storage with Smart Markets, which brought together regulators, power companies, municipalities, and energy developers, the Obama Administration announced new executive actions and 33 state and private sector commitments that the government hopes will “accelerate the grid integration of renewable energy and storage.” Specifically, the Obama Administration believes these new executive actions will result in at least 1.3 GW of additional energy storage procurement or deployment over the next five years.

Among the actions announced by the Obama Administration is a commitment from the federal government to increase its storage and microgrid capacity, investors announcing $130 million in new funding commitments for energy storage, the US Department of Energy will commit to promote access to and standardization of energy data, and the promise that, “In aggregate, these new procurement, deployment, and investment commitments, … could lead to approximately $1 billion in investments in energy storage.”

In response to the announcement, Ravi Manghani, energy storage director at GTM Research, explained that the energy storage industry now has its own SunShot Initiative which “provided a shot in the arm for the then fledgling solar industry.” Specifically, “Now the storage industry has a similar benchmark to measure its growth against.”

“Adding a nationwide storage public-private push into the equation will provide a well-earned boost to the market, and in all probability, an upward bump in the storage outlook,” said Ravi Manghani in a brief published timed with the announcement. “The market will receive a direct lift from the program investments, and additionally surge due to positive network effects from a well-funded and expanding industry ecosystem.”

A full list of the 33 commitments can be found in the Fact Sheet made available by the Obama Administration.

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • Robert Pollock

    Pitiful really. If it were X 10 (ten) maybe this would make a measurable difference, sooner rather than later. The elephant in the room question is: What if our path of climate recovery doesn’t work or doesn’t work fast enough? Pan B will be (almost) exponentially more painful by definition, a harder sell (we can’t get this one embedded into people’s minds) and even more likely to fail.
    There’s always Plan C; Where’s Elon when you need him?

  • Ivor O’Connor

    So Obama is paying the utilities and military to add battery backup to their grids? How does this help homeowners?

    I suppose it helps the companies that will be doing the work. And perhaps sets some standards. However I’d like to have seen money go directly to the little people. These existing monopolies don’t need more free money.

    • nakedChimp

      You have to change the money before that can happen.
      As long as legal tender is able to withdraw from saturated markets (=long term interest rates below 2%) you have a monopoly that clever naked chimps use to their ability and advantage (the 1%).

      PS: most of them might not even know what they do on a big scale there.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Yes, I’d love to use bitcoin for everything.

        • nakedChimp

          Na, bitcoin and similar virtual currencies are not better. They are even worse as they are more like gold.
          You can’t adjust their amount to the GDP easily (i.e. mining is independent of GPD) and thus have inflation/deflation built into them.
          They will not be the solution in their current form, just be another asset type.

          At the moment they work so well, cause they facilitate trade that shouldn’t go over official books and circumvent traditional control and profit structures.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            I have trouble understanding why bitcoin is worse than gold. Gold was great. Gold kept our country honest. Nixon took us off the gold standard so he could print up money for the Vietnam war. And every politician since then does the same thing. Bitcoin allows us to detach ourselves from our government devaluing the currency. Bitcoin, or something like it, is clearly the future.

          • nakedChimp

            Any currency that is able to withdraw from the market at no cost (ignore inflation for the moment) for the with-holder is a problem for everyone else that needs it to exchange goods and services.
            Any currency whose amount can’t be adjusted to the amount of goods and services being traded at will by some sort of agency is a problem for the market as you get inflation and worse deflation.
            Gold and bitcoin have those features.
            You know why the Federal Reserve or the ECB is aiming for 2% inflation and not 0%?
            Cause they can’t deal with deflation.
            You know why they desperately wish for growth?
            Cause they can’t deal with an economy that shrinks.
            Have you ever done the graphs for an economy that grows with at lest 2% annually?
            Have you had a look at annual growth rates for ANY economy on this planet since WW2?
            Did you compare the two?
            Did you ever calculate the absolute growth per year for those numbers?
            Any developed country on this planet is living in a saturated state (we only have 24 hrs a day to consume). Even China is getting there.. while they had 2 digit growth rates 10 years ago they now have to do with 5-6%.. and it will become less.
            Money needs to be able to work in en economy that is saturated – this means 0% growth – this means 0% ROI.
            Gold will be hoarded in those cases.
            Bitcoins will be hoarded.
            FIAT money will be hoarded (look at Apple for an example).

          • super390

            Have you seen the various proposals to issue currency based on the fulfillment of electricity delivery contracts, instead of the approval of loans by banks? The argument that demand for electricity is a better tracker of the needed money supply than precious metals is persuasive to me. Ben Franklin’s Bank of Pennsylvania relied wholly on farmers tracking economic activity, since they would pay back their debt faster during growth periods and reduce the money supply.

          • nakedChimp

            Humans have come a long way from using a common tradeable ‘natural’ good (salt, animal skins, bottled up olive oil, etc..) as universal exchange medium that itself has some value.
            Money is needed to exchange goods and services and the value of said money is secured by exactly those kinds of goods and services on can ‘purchase’ with that money. Don’t know why the good ‘energy’ would help us there, just that everyone needs it.

            IMHO the money of the future should be able to be created decentralized (without a central bank) but obey to certain standards (don’t know right now what these would be and who is publicly controlling them) and everyone can make it and back it up with his personal ability to work or what he owns.
            A money like that would work local, regional and international.
            The bigger the security and the larger the entity securing the bill, the more international it would be. Neighbors would probably trust each other. Peoples in bigger communities would trust their local companies most. And internationally one would trust big corporations to be able to secure the bills.
            So your neighbors money won’t be accepted on the other side of the planet, but in the local store it might be.
            And if a local economy trades something with the international market it would get access to international currencies to trade in for stuff that can’t be made locally..
            I just don’t know how one would implement a system like that as from my current pov it would need a lot of transparency. How much money has been issued by participant xy. How accepted is it by other participants, aso..

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Lots of questions. In general there are a lot of things that have not been done before that went against the standards. For instance everybody thought power generation was tied to the GDP. That BEVs would never replace ICE vehicles. That renewable energy because of its sporadic nature would not replace base power. However just because we are controlled currently by a two party political system that insists playing with our money is their right and a good thing doesn’t make it so.

            Bitcoins can be hoarded. The value will go up and down. You’ll get used to it. Things will be much better with bitcoins than with a fiat currency.

          • nakedChimp

            As I said earlier to 2JohnLars.. it’s not so easy to do this kind of thing here as it’s a pretty big field. I’ll explain a very simple fiat money first, then we check out how gold fares in those scenarios, let’s go:

            Money is only worth something if you can trade it for something you want. In a very basic model modern fiat money is being created at the central bank by doing two things:
            1) printing a number on a piece of paper (legal tender = the bill)
            2) putting the same number into the balance sheet as credit (the loan taker has got an account there with the same number as loan in there)
            Now, by what is that bill covered?
            The loan taker had to secure it by something that is tradeable – a building maybe or his first child or his own labor, whatever it is, that’s what secures the bill.
            The loan taker now takes the bill and trades it for something he wants or needs.
            At some point in time he will need to pay the loan back (to not end as slave or loose his first child or his building), so he has to create/make/acquire something to ‘fish’ the bill back from the market, so he can turn around and give it to the bank.
            And as the bank takes interest he needs to get more back from the market than just that bill – where does the interest come from in this simple model?
            Easy, the bank can pay with the interest it get’s on the loan for something like electricity or security services.
            So the loan taker is able to earn the interest as well as the bank has put that into the market (consumed for the worth of it) the loan can be paid in full, inclusive interest.
            All clear so far?
            Any questions?

          • Ivor O’Connor

            In your example, interest would need to be paid. So what’s the problem? You buy a Tesla for 100 bitcoins and make payments over a five-year period. You might end up paying 120 bitcoins over that period of time. Twenty bitcoins would have gone for interest. Teslas have already been bought with bitcoins.

            Like gold, there are only so many bitcoins, which give it some scarcity. Bitcoins can’t be printed up when a government has math problems. Bitcoins would have kept Nixon from funding his secret illegal wars. Wall street and bankers in general can still trade and work with derivatives. Without a fiat currency, these traders would need to be more responsible. And people like Trump would not profit from a corrupt financial system every few years by declaring bankruptcy.

            Bitcoin is a good thing for the little people. It protects them from governments and banks.

          • nakedChimp

            That’s not what I was after. From past discussions on the subject I know people have a hard time to see how the interest get’s back into the ‘game’ to be fished out again, thus I mentioned it.
            I will show you down the road why gold or bitcoin are not good, but first we need to cover some basics.

            And as I said, it’s rather a big task to follow me here. If I had to guess I’d say it will take me at least 10 such posts to explain what the real problem is and I won’t point out any conspiracy, banks, people or governments – I will at most blame the current money design which itself I just see as an iteration.
            I’m trying to elevate your point of view above what you are used to, above the me-and-them-thinking.
            If you are not ready for it just say so, I don’t want to waste my time and your good nature here.

            So could you follow above simple concept of how current money is being created and what backs it?
            Did you get that money (the bill in your hand) is one half of a contract, with the other half being the loan?
            Do you understand that for every deposit there has to be a loan in the very same amount?
            Can you follow this concept of equal balances?
            No matter which bank.. be it central bank or business banks, their balance sheets do equal out to zero if all deposits would be ‘moved’ onto the accounts with the loans.
            Do you understand that?

            It’s similar to matter and anti-matter or Yin and Yang.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            If anything the conversation is going way too slow. So let’s drop it.

          • nakedChimp

            No problem. I might at some point in the far future try to write something down and pitch it to Zach.. but currently I’m 100% covered with work and other things.

          • super390

            However, undervaluing one’s currency was the foundation of the Japanese economic miracle. It works as long as you can deal with the staggering cost of imports. Japan was under US Occupation at the time and the US was giving it aid money. It also was using land reform to break up big estates, so there were a lot more farmers moving aggressively to make Japan self-sufficient in rice, countering the most dangerous aspect of devaluation.

            Conversely, the US $ is actually over-valued based on any reckoning of value, but it gets away with it because it’s propped up by export powers who are stuck with enormous amounts of $ and a need to keep exporting here. So it’s hard to get US manufacturing really going again despite the constant wage-cutting imposed by the 1%. So who benefits from a strong $ and falling wages? Pretty much the same class that benefited from the gold standard, the wealth-holders who ran America into the ground during the laissez-faire era with their constant booms and busts.

            And we didn’t have any problem printing up money for World War 2 even with a gold standard when we got the public to buy War Bonds and raised the top tax rate to stave off inflationary pressure. It’s easy to create hysteria in America to silence opposition to wars, but people reveal what they really think by what they’re willing to pay for.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            It is not a matter of undervaluing one’s currency. Bitcoin, or something similar with addons, will replace all currencies. So under-valuing or over-valuing will be fixed by economic forces. It’s not a matter of it being theoretical and possibly never happening. No more than solar and wind not becoming the standard. It probably won’t happen in the USA until we are so indebted to everybody we have to escape the dollar. But it will happen.

          • 2JohnLars

            Seriously? A Global economics, Bitcoin and gold treatise from nakedChimp and co?

          • nakedChimp

            Don’t worry – for one, this commentary board is not the right place.
            Two, I don’t have time to do it in a manner that would get this across.
            Three, it won’t change a thing.
            My ass is on a wall out of the firing line (in regards to these developments) as far as I can be.

            If you want to read more, search for Gesell and a regional currency in Bavaria they call the Chiemgauer.
            They test the principle since 6 years or so (not the only one, but the most prominent) and seem to make progress.
            I hope they make it and can be an island of stability when the sh** finally hits the fan.

    • Brunel

      That is like saying wind farms do not help home owners.

      I do not know the cost of storing electrons. Hopefully these auctions reveal the cost and we can work from there.

      eg, if the cycle life in a PowerPack is the same as the cycle life in a Powerwall – we can extrapolate the cost of storing electrons.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        It’s also like saying nuclear and coal power plants help home owners. I’d rather see something that directly helps home owners.

        • Brunel

          Coal power stations are not good for home owners.

          That is obvious.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Don’t tell Trump that!

          • Brunel

            Politics is bizarre/opaque. Trump is a luxury real estate developer. He should not care about where the electrons come from!

  • Roger Lambert

    Well, it might be on a small scale, but at least Obama is tackling the topic right out of the starting gate of his first term. That’ll really send a messa… oh, wait a second.

    • super390

      Battery-based electricity storage was regarded as a crackpot topic by people even on alternative energy sites until about a year ago. The latter people at least understood the limits of pumped-water storage. We’ve gone through many twists and turns in the last 8 years. Now everyone’s aware of the falling costs of certain types of batteries and trying to recalibrate their plans around that.

      • Brunel

        The Powerwall was launched over 18 months ago – so your statement is false.

        Even in 2014 I knew that batteries will keep crashing in price.

  • vensonata .

    Maybe, just maybe, we may see some affordable storage appear starting this summer. At least the ITC will apply and reduce costs by 30%…(for those who pay taxes). At this stage, while it is still a dribble, even more radical price cuts should be applied, for early adopters. Simply peg the price at that which actually saves money on their electrical bill in their micro market situation, since there is such diversity in the U.S. electrical markets.

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