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Data: U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report by Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association; Chart: Axios Visuals

America deployed a record amount of energy storage in the third quarter of 2020, increasing 240% over the previous high set last quarter, a new report says.

Why it matters: Storing electricity to back up wind and solar is key to ensuring increases in these variable energy sources goes smoothly. That upsurge is a central part of combating climate change.

Driving the news: New battery storage installments in the third quarter reached a record 476 megawatts, according to a report released Wednesday by consulting firm Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association.

What they’re saying: “These eye-catching deployment totals represent only the beginning of a long-anticipated scale up for the U.S. storage market,” said Dan Finn-Foley, Wood Mackenzie’s lead energy storage expert. “Considering the scale of systems anticipated for 2021 we do not expect this record, as remarkable as it is, to stand for long.”

How it works: Continual price declines in batteries and government policies supporting such deployment are behind the big rise, which would have been even bigger had it not been for the pandemic.

  • Most energy storage, and the majority of the increase, is coming from large-scale systems installed directly onto the electricity grid (as opposed to, say, a 5-kilowatt Tesla Powerwall that individuals can install in their homes).
  • For context, 476 megawatts, when deployed, equals about 95,000 of those Tesla Powerwalls.

Go deeper: As wind and solar increase, so do their challenges

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 26, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The rise of corporate renewables

Data: BloombergNEF; Chart: Axios Visuals

Companies worldwide are buying more renewable power than ever, and now some of the biggest U.S. corporations say the Biden administration can help decarbonize the nation's power more quickly.

Why it matters: Corporate procurement of renewables — especially wind and solar — is becoming an important deployment driver as companies take advantage of lower prices and look to meet sustainability pledges.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.