Energy Storage and Renewable Energy
According to Forbes' Ucilia Wang, China recently installed the world's largest lithium-ion battery, meant to store energy from solar and wind. China is likely to invest in other similar projects, which will pair with their ambitious renewable energy goals.
Energy storage is key to the future of the renewable energy, because unlike coal, the energy generated by renewable sources is naturally intermittent (i.e. solar energy is only available during the day).
While China has begun to invest in energy storage, it is a green technology that has yet to enjoy widespread adoption, partly because the framework for increased investment and implementation remains undeveloped, according to the U.S. lawmakers who introduced legislation to reverse this trend.
In November, three U.S. senators - Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, Susan Collins and Ron Wyden - authored November's Storage Technology for Renewable and Green Energy Act (STORAGE Act) of 2011, which they say aims to open the gate for more energy storage investment. It could also create more renewable energy jobs for individuals in the energy storage industry.
The lawmakers say they favor energy storage for its ability to save excess energy and then release it when needed as a method to save money and power. If passed, the STORAGE Act would provide an investment tax credit of 20 percent - or up to $40 million - to businesses that develop and connect a storage system to the electric grid.
Additionally, businesses and homeowners that deploy an on-site energy storage utility would receive a 30 percent tax credit of up to $1 million to finance this purchase.
Green Jobs in Renewable Energy Storage
The tax incentives would encourage more businesses and individuals to adopt energy storage technology, according to a press release from the Electricity Storage Association, which applauded the proposed legislation.
An increase in energy storage could stimulate renewable energy investments, since it would make the energy availability more reliable. Increased investment in renewables could create green jobs in the sector.
To increase their visibility for these renewable energy jobs, individuals can seek professional certification from a number of organizations. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is a notable provider of certifications for small wind, solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) installers.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) also affixes its seal of approval to top educational programs for wind energy professionals, including Texas State Technical College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan. Additionally, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC) offers a renewable energy technician degree that touches on concepts such as solar power, wind energy and biofuels.