A broad coalition of energy trade and advocacy organizations filed a letter to the US Senate and House leaderships this week, urging them to modify the tax code to include energy storage as an eligible technology for the country’s Investment Tax Credit, or ITC.
Dated Monday 26 November, the letter calls on Speaker Paul Ryan and Leader Nancy Pelosi of the House of Representatives and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer of the Senate to “consider end-of-year legislation … to clarify that the investment tax credit … includes energy storage as an eligible technology.” Specifically, the letter explains that there is “bipartisan, bicameral support for this common-sense bill, the Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act … which would ensure a level playing field for energy storage to compete with all other energy resources made eligible for the ITC.”
The coalition of energy groups — which includes the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Energy Storage Association (ESA), Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), and others — believes that such a commitment by the US Government would help bolster an industry that already supports over 90,000 US jobs.
“If enacted, US companies would gain the certainty needed for long-term investment, creating jobs and solidifying the industry’s competitiveness in the global market,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the ESA. “This common-sense provision would ensure continued growth of a key advanced technology sector in the US that, when deployed, results in a better world through a more resilient, efficient, sustainable, and affordable electricity grid.”
“As our letter to Senate and House leadership details, energy storage systems are critically important to the modernization of America’s electric grid and represent a massive opportunity for clean energy, particularly solar power,” explained SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “In the energy world, you’d be hard-pressed to find an example of two technologies that complement each other as well as solar plus storage.
“Yet without clear rules of the road, companies continue to face financial uncertainty in their investments. Inclusion in the ITC is a crucial step if we’re going to harness storage’s full potential. SEIA, alongside our partner organizations, is urging Congress to enact the Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act, a common-sense bill that will encourage investment, jobs and accelerated deployment of solar plus storage projects.”
Unfortunately, given that this is not the energy storage industry’s first attempts at seeking government support through an investment tax credit, it is uncertain whether this time will be any different.
“Storage is more bipartisan than renewables, and is getting quite a lot of traction as of late at the federal level (FERC ruling on storage earlier this year, for example),” explained Yayoi Sekine, an Energy Storage analyst at Bloomberg NEF. “The storage industry broadly has been seeking for a ‘standalone’ ITC for several years, but that has fallen through in the past – it is unclear if this time will be different, but having a broader coalition probably helps.”
Other signatories on the letter include Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, ClearPath Action, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the National Hydropower Association (NHA).