Murkowski: Advanced Energy Storage Technologies Strengthen Grid Reliability and Resilience

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a hearing to discuss current and emerging energy storage technologies. The committee heard from representatives of the Energy Storage Association, Voith Hydro, the Pacific Northwest National Lab, and Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Murkowski opened the hearing by once again offering her thoughts and prayers to all of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, as well as the Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These events underlined the growing need for building a stronger, more resilient electric grid.

“We’ve all heard about the benefits that can be associated with the deployment of energy storage, including increased grid reliability and resilience,” Murkowski said. “Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are in a severe state of emergency, and as we try to help rebuild the grids and restore power, we need to be looking for ways to make those grids more reliable and more resilient than ever before. Energy storage can be a part of that conversation.”

Advanced energy storage technologies also face a number of challenges, including the need for robust domestic minerals supply chains. These technologies require rare and minor metals, for which the U.S. relies heavily on foreign sources, such as lithium for batteries.

“We already import at least 50 percent of 50 different mineral commodities, and we can’t allow this dependence to worsen as these technologies grow in use,” Murkowski said. “We need to ensure that federal policies do not unintentionally impede the evolution of markets for this sector.”

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. During the hearing, Murkowski announced that she and a number of her colleagues will travel to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after the situation there has stabilized. The committee will also hold a hearing about the status of recovery and options for rebuilding in the near future. An archived video and testimony from today’s hearing are available on the committee’s website. Click here and here to view both rounds of Murkowski’s questions for witnesses. 

Related Issues: Energy