Incentivizing Renewable Energy Storage and Transmission (I-REST)

The two key enablers of renewable energy today are storage and transmission. Storage — using batteries, thermal systems, compressed air, water pumping and beyond — is critical to dealing with the intermittency of solar and wind by shifting the use of electricity from when it is generated to when there is greater customer need and economic value — whether over an hour, day or month. Transmission is critical because resource-rich areas of generation tend to be located far from urban load centers, plus local variations in sun and wind can be smoothed out with significant inter-regional transmission connections. Transmission development in the U.S. is inadequate today largely because of conflicts at the state and federal level over siting and cost allocation. Storage is relatively immature technologically, the costs of a number of promising options are high, and key state and federal policies governing its deployment need further development. Yet, without rapid and cost-effective deployment of storage and transmission, the environmental and economic promise of renewables will not be realized. Dan Reicher and Jeff Brown, who teach energy courses at the Stanford Law and Business schools, will guide the I-REST Policy Practicum research team in exploring policy, finance and technology tools that could accelerate the development and deployment of U.S. storage and transmission projects.

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