Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on August 22, 2022
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on May 17, 2023
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 22, 2023
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the maintenance, development, reliability, and resiliency improvements of energy storage systems (ESS) to improve the reliability of the United States’ (U.S.) electric grid.
- Development of best practices that will sustain positive economic impact of ESS development on consumers and local communities.
- Promotion and encouragement of ESS implementation amongst ratepayers.
- Development of fair and competitive markets for the adoption of ESS technologies.
- Regulatory policies able to reflect the values provided by ESS projects.
ESS have existed for a long time, with the earliest being pumped hydroelectric storage. Other forms include batteries, super-capacitors, thermal storage, mechanical storage, compressed air, and other technologies. While lithium-ion batteries and pumped hydroelectric storage are mature and being deployed at scale, many promising next generation technologies are in early commercialization.
ESS technologies have individual advantages and disadvantages and are used according to application and such considerations as cost, location and whether high energy or high-power functions are needed. Renewable sources such as solar and wind are intermittent and increasing dependence on these sources will require expanded and improved energy storage systems. ESS technologies are also used in the power sector for electric grid stability, power back up, and energy arbitrage.
ESS policies need to accompany market reforms and renewable energy policies to maximize their benefits by removing barriers to development. ESS policies mostly promote energy storage by providing incentives, soft loans, targets, and a level playing field. The full potential of ESS in a smart grid is realized by reconceptualized ESS as an asset class in a central role in the future structure of the grid and power markets.
The goal of ESS policies is to support the transition toward a low-carbon economy (decarbonization) by helping to integrate higher levels of variable renewable resources, by allowing for a more resilient, reliable, and flexible electricity grid and promoting greater production of energy where it is consumed.
ASCE Policy Statement 572
First approved in 2023