So often we hear naysayers bemoaning the effects of relinquishing a fossil fuel-based energy economy. “If we stopped producing oil and gas tomorrow, we’d have an economic crisis. We’d have a famine. We’d have a world war.” So it’s refreshing to see carbon-free sources described as “the mother of all markets” and “a rare opportunity to create millions of living-wage jobs.” That’s the tone of the December, 2018 report, “The New York Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Energy Storage.”
Arguing that “advanced energy represents a tremendous wealth opportunity to alleviate the disparate growth” and is a primary job creation mechanism in the US, the report provides strategies for New York to capture the economic and job benefits of the state’s ambitious energy storage deployment goals.
And that New York model can be emulated by other US states, too.
Using the state of New York as an example, The American Jobs Project, in partnership with the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST), has identified a strategy to ensure states capture their share of this quickly growing energy storage industry. In doing so, low- and middle-skilled workers would have opportunities with pay above the national median.workers and communities, which could uplift entire communities.
In New York, energy storage industry is a significant economic opportunity for job growth and has the potential to support a total of 27,400 manufacturing and installation jobs by 2030. New York, the report’s authors say, can capitalize on this opportunity by bolstering the innovation ecosystem, access to capital, workforce development, and value chain.
The New York Jobs Project’s central theme is that forward-thinking leaders can reverse trends over the last several decades in which dedicated US workers saw wages stagnated, opportunities for good-paying jobs diminish, and economic inequality rise. Instead of waiting for the current federal government to lose its “paralysis,” the authors suggest, it’s time to turn to the state, which can promote equitable growth by capitalizing on the opportunities within the advanced energy sector — and what better place is there to start than with energy storage?
Based on stakeholder interviews and extensive research, The New York Jobs Project finds:
- The energy storage industry could support more than 27,400 manufacturing and installation jobs for New Yorkers by 2030, backing the state’s 30,000 jobs target.
- The Empire State is home to nearly 100 energy storage companies with expertise in hardware manufacturing, advanced materials, software development, and project management.
- New York excels at fundamental energy storage research and ranks fifth in the nation for energy storage patents due to the depth of research across its universities, national lab, and businesses.
- Clean energy innovation is supported by statewide business/technology development resources from NYSERDA, Empire State Development, and NY-BEST.
- New York’s clean energy leadership, marked by ambitious statewide goals and collaborative stakeholder efforts, present a clear mandate to catalyze energy storage deployment.
What is Energy Storage?
Energy storage technologies save generated energy for use at a later time. Depending on the technology, energy can be stored as electrical, thermal, mechanical, chemical, or electrochemical energy and then later released as electricity. Technologies vary by how much energy they can store (capacity), how quickly they can discharge the energy (power rating), their cost structures, and their benefits to the power grid, utilities, transportation system, and customers. These differences enable energy storage to serve diverse applications, such as balancing electricity supply and demand, regulating power quality, facilitating use of renewable energy sources, providing emergency power, and powering electric vehicles.
Energy storage is the key to achieving a resilient, secure, and carbon-free energy future. Storage technologies facilitate greater use of clean energy and transform the power grid into a dynamic network for supplying reliable and cost-effective electricity. Energy storage also enables transportation electrification, which means huge reductions in fossil fuel dependence and greenhouse gas emissions. Accelerated energy storage deployment will be the linchpin of the global energy transformation.
“Amplifying the role of local manufacturing in New York’s energy storage industry could provide stable employment for thousands of middle-class workers while creating follow-on benefits for the broader labor market,” said Kate Ringness, Managing Director of the American Jobs Project and co-author of the report. “New York’s leaders are creating strong policies to ensure there will be local demand for energy storage. We want to support these efforts by ensuring a healthy ecosystem that supports local job creation in manufacturing, as well as deployment.”
- Establishing an innovation voucher program to enable small business access to New York’s state-of-the-art energy storage product development and testing facilities
- Hosting industry-specific investor education events to help investors better evaluate the value proposition of energy storage businesses
- Expanding integrated basic education and skills training at community colleges to prepare workers for jobs in the growing energy storage industry
- Developing an energy storage job board to build career awareness and serve as a resource for local businesses, jobseekers, training providers, employment agencies, and policymakers
- Mapping the local energy storage supply chain and coordinating foreign direct investment outreach to fill critical gaps and attract new jobs and capital to the state
3 Categories of Energy Storage
Today’s use cases for energy storage associated with electricity generation and use fall predominantly into three categories: utility-scale, behind-the-meter, and transportation.
Utility-scale energy storage optimize the grid and handles higher electricity demand predicted for the coming decades. Through managing peak load, integrating renewable energy on the grid, regulating frequency and voltage, and providing reserve capacity, utility-scale energy storage assures large scale energy reliability on the power grid.
Behind-the-meter energy storage can also be deployed by customers on their residential, commercial, or industrial properties. Behind-the-meter energy storage allows customers to take greater control of their electricity usage. Customers can draw upon stored power when grid electricity is expensive and reduce their electricity bills. Backup power offers peace-of-mind when electricity disruptions from grid outages or natural disasters occur. Behind-the-meter energy storage interfaces with renewable energy and can provide ancillary services, like delivering excess energy back to the grid that help with frequency regulation and load shifting.
Transportation when powered by electricity from on-board energy storage can reduce pollution, save money, and increase energy efficiency compared to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. Think of all the vehicles that can be electrified! Passenger cars, public transit, material handling equipment, heavy duty transport, ships, and planes– all can be electrified, and adequate energy storage assures a constant and dependable electrical transportation supply.
Other States Can Take Advantage of Energy Storage for Job Creation — #CleanTechnica Exclusive
As I read the original research report, it occurred to me that the scenarios described could be adapted in other US states. I reached out to the author team who collaborated on “The New York Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Energy Storage” and heard back from co-author Kate Ringness.
Q: “The New York Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Energy Storage” has many elements that extend beyond application merely in New York state. What advice would you give to other states that want to adopt some of the recommendation in this report?
A: “While the report recommendations are tailored specifically to New York and energy storage, many of the challenges considered in The New York Jobs Project are applicable to states across the nation. A good starting place for any state looking to expand advanced energy manufacturing would be to think about its resources and how they can work together – what we call an economic cluster.
The idea behind an economic cluster is to grow an industry holistically. That means encouraging cross-pollination between innovation, access to capital, workforce development, the value chain, and the local market to support a robust industry. The American Jobs Project offers a policy bank on our website with recommendations that could be applied to any state.”
So, what’s an economic cluster, anyway?
How an Emphasis on Cluster Growth Can Create Local Energy Storage Opportunities
Clusters are regionally situated groups of companies and institutions that are engaged in a particular industry and supported by repeated exchanges of information and resources. In today’s competitive globalized economy, businesses are more likely to thrive in regions that cultivate the building blocks of cluster development: a rich innovation ecosystem, fertile ground for capital investment, a highly skilled workforce, a robust value chain, and clear policy signals. In fact, clusters enable businesses to leverage a trained workforce, a close network of suppliers, and a wealth of resources to overcome size limitations, improve productivity, and increase operational efficiency.
“As New York works to scale energy storage deployment, the choices we make now will shape how we grow this sector,” said William Acker, Executive Director of NY-BEST. “The New York Jobs Project aims to help stakeholders consider how we can cultivate an energy storage ecosystem that ensures the jobs associated with the state’s deployment targets benefit New Yorkers. That means leveraging the state’s cutting-edge research, supporting local manufacturers, and preparing a skilled workforce.”
Energy storage is the key to achieving a resilient, secure, and carbon-free energy future.
Currently a $11.8 billion global market, it is estimated to grow 8.4% each year through 2022. Together with New York’s progressive energy storage deployment policies, this report finds New York is well positioned to grow its global leadership in innovation and establish itself as a manufacturing force for the energy storage industry. With the right partnerships and policies, the report reveals energy storage could strengthen the state’s labor market and create manufacturing jobs, a sector that has continued to shrink since the Great Recession.
To fully realize New York’s potential in the energy storage industry and position the state for continued growth, policymakers will need to make a concerted effort to seize the opportunity presented by increasing global demand. With continued collaboration and designated leadership, New York can address barriers to cluster growth and demonstrate that the state is ripe for investment.
In doing so, they will become a model for other US states in energy storage as a means of job creation.
Stats, graphics, and photos courtesy of American Jobs Project