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US ups spending on energy storage

Steven Chu, President Obama’s Energy Secretary, has been making the case for a modest 2.3% increase in the renewables investment, reportsRenewables Biz. This would bring the total spend to USD$27 billion, of which $60 million has been earmarked for researching and expanding the uses of energy storage systems. The money would be in addition to $185 million given to 16 different storage projects via the 2009 stimulus plan.

Is this sort of spending a good deal for the US taxpayer? Although not directly related to energy storage, some Department of Energy figures, as reported in GreenTech Media, suggest it is; the Government says every tax dollar invested in solar projects attracts 20 more in private money. If true, then surely this is the sort of market distortion most of us can live with.

The “C” word in US politics

Did you count the number of times the “c” word was used in the presidential debates? By some accounts, it was just twice, and once only as a put-down to goad the incumbent president. Yes, the subject of climate change has been about as popular as corporate funding in the battle for the planet’s top job, which concludes today.

Is it not amazing that in the aftermath of “frankenstorm” Sandy, the Democrats can only talk about green job creation and the Republicans throw scorn at the whole idea of man-made climate change? Whilst it would be unscientific to blame a single event on anthropogenic global warming, should not Sandy at least serve as an illustration of the direction in which the weather could be heading if we do not reduce our dependence on fossil fuels?

Apparently, the answer from the brave men who aspire to run America is “no comment.”

Tell Europe it needs to invest in energy storage

Energy Storage Report recently received an email about the European Investment Bank launching a public consultation on its lending policy to the energy sector. It is essentially an invitation to submit a written contribution by the end of the year, and attend a meeting on 7 December. So what are you waiting for? Get lobbying, and let’s see if we can persuade Brussels to give our sector the funding it needs to get energy storage working for Europe.

Should taxes fund energy storage?

All four stories posted today feature projects that involve government funding for energy storage-related areas – either directly, via the US Department of Energy, or through the backdoor of the Pentagon and NATO. With citizens’ taxes absorbing some of the risk of energy storage R&D, is this a case of unwarranted market distortion, a necessary evil or good government policy? Tell us what you think.