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Rep. Curtis introduces energy storage bill

FILE: Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah. Photo: Silas Walker

WASHINGTON D.C. – Technology that creates electricity from solar power or wind has improved dramatically over the past decade, but, one lawmaker says the technology to store that electricity hasn’t kept up.  He’s calling on the federal government to help companies find better power storage options.

Despite all of the improvements in solar technology, there is still one big problem… the sun.

Rocky Mountain Power VP of Government Affairs Jon Cox says, “Solar [production] peaks in the middle of the day, but energy consumption doesn’t peak until six or seven p.m.”

While an individual homeowner can store electricity in their battery packs, Cox says it’s very different if you’re talking about massive amounts of energy created from solar farms.

“There’s no good way to store that electricity in the middle of the day,” Cox says.

Third District Representative John Curtis is introducing the INVEST Act, or H.R. 5409, which his office says will create incentives for companies that can find better ways to store the power that would otherwise go to waste.

“Hopefully, in time, you’d find technology that could store it from one day to another in some longer term storage.  Today, the technology isn’t that great, or it’s quite expensive,” Cox says.

Of course, there will always be environmental impacts with any kind energy usage.  However, Cox says, “The carbon footprint of these types of generation sources is significantly less than traditional thermal generation.”

Curtis’ office issued a statement saying H.R. 5409 would allow utility companies to make significant investments to their solar storage fleets, and provide a 30 percent tax credit for owners of stand-alone energy storage.