US Clean Energy Group proposes Collaboration on Distributed Energy Storage Policies

Distributed energy storage is the key enabling technology for renewables such as solar PV and the key to grid modernization.

Distributed energy storage systems are advancing quickly and show great promise for a wide variety of applications and markets. But the markets are at an early stage, and policy makers have only begun to develop programs to help advance the technologies. A few states like California have developed targeted energy storage policies, but many states are likely to create policy programs. This early stage of the policy development on energy storage is the right time for more collaborative discussions on the best policy approaches to drive the technologies to scale.

Clean Energy Group, a nonprofit organization that works to advance clean energy technologies, policies, finance, and markets, has released a concept note calling for more collaboration on policies to promote emerging distributed energy storage technologies. In Distributed Energy Storage: A Case for National and International Collaboration, Clean Energy Group proposes the creation of both national and international networks of industry, policy makers and NGOS to advance new and effective policies for distributed energy storage technologies.

Getting energy storage policies right is important for many reasons. Distributed energy storage is the clean, efficient, fast-scaling solution to a myriad of problems: 

  • It can help to integrate renewables by pro-viding fast ramping of power to balance variable generation resources and prevent overbuilding of fossil fuel peaker plants.

  • It can reduce energy costs when paired with solar PV, through load shifting and the reduction of demand charges.

  • It can provide resilient power to keep the lights on when the grid goes down.

  • It can help to alleviate grid congestion, avoiding the need for expensive transmission and distribution system investments.

  • And it can allow small distributed generators to access markets that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.

Distributed energy storage technologies have arrived but financing, markets, policies and regulations to support these technologies have not. Clean Energy Group sees an opportunity for national and international networks to share knowledge and experience, accelerate the development of needed policies, and stimulate markets. Cooperation and collaboration can help us avoid the kinds of patchwork-quilt policies that have kept other promising new energy technologies from reaching scale quickly and efficiently. 

These national and international collaboration networks would shape policy, advocate for regulatory advances, and aid the industry in accessing markets and financing.  

As a first step, Clean Energy Group proposes the following specific efforts:

  • A Technology Exchange to help participants keep abreast of advances in battery chemistries and inverters;

  • A Policy Exchange to allow policymakers to share ideas and experience across state and national borders;

  • A Markets Watch to keep participants up to date on the evolution of electricity pricing, ancillary services markets, installed systems costs, and related market developments;

  • Standards and Testing Protocols to promote the development of a unified set of performance and safety standards, testing protocols, and other standards;

  • An International Program Database to track distributed energy storage programs and deployment globally;

  • An International Industry Database to list companies in the distributed storage and related industries;

  • A Distributed Storage Newsletter to keep readers up to date on industry developments around the globe.

Please contact Lewis Milford, Clean Energy Group President, at for more information, or sign up to be added to our e-Distribution list for Energy Storage at



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Lewis Milford is president and founder of Clean Energy Group (CEG) and Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), two national nonprofit organizations that work with state, federal, and international organizations to promote clean energy technology, policy, finance, and innovation. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He works with many public agencies and private investors in the United States and Europe that finance clean energy. He is frequently asked to appear as an expert panelist at energy conferences throughout the United States and Europe. His articles on clean energy have appeared in many print and online publications including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The National Journal, The Huffington Post, and Renewable Energy World. Before founding these two organizations, he was Vice President of Conservation Law Foundation, New England’s leading environmental organization. Prior to that, he was a government prosecutor on the Love Canal hazardous waste case in New York and previously directed the Public Interest Law Clinic at American University Law School where he represented veterans on a range of legal issues, including gaining compensation for their harmful expose to Agent Orange and nuclear radiation. He has a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

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