It’s rare to have an opportunity to shape an energy technology market as it is emerging, especially to create the rules so that its climate, equity, economic, and environmental benefits are front and center of the policy debate.
Imagine that you were a policymaker in the period 1880 through 1920, where you could shape the direction of the energy power and transportation markets as Edison and others fought to make light bulbs, transmission lines, electrical standards, customer products, and ways to finance their technologies.
We live today, over a 100 years later, with the results of their unregulated market approach to technology development.
At this moment, battery storage is the new technology innovation that can be shaped by advocacy and policy, as it is emerging in force on the national and international stage.
This report is designed to set the table for that conversation now, before the policies are fully proposed, the interests are hardened and aligned, the arguments are made, and the debates are too settled for further conversation and persuasion.
Above all, this report is intended to awaken the environmental and foundation community to this new opportunity.
Environmental advocates and foundations have spent the last thirty or more years designing and refining and defending rules and public funding for energy efficiency and solar technologies.
Now the third pillar of the clean energy technology platform is ahead of us. It will require a similar level of dedicated philanthropic support, NGO engagement, policy advocacy, state intervention, industry partnerships, financial creativity, and careful thought.
It will also likely engender heated debate with allies and adversaries, contested claims of merit and demerits, and disputes over whether models fit markets, and whether facts are facts.
But it will be worth it.
The issues outlined here are not the only challenges battery storage advocates need to resolve for the technology to take its much-needed place in the clean energy marketplace. But they are a start.
It’s now up to foundations and other advocates to shape the arc of this technology toward clear and committed public purposes.