About New York

Report published: December 12, 2018

Energy storage is the key to achieving a resilient, secure, and carbon-free energy future. New York stakeholders are already taking action to capture the numerous benefits that energy storage can provide the power grid, transportation systems, and the economy. The state’s forward-looking efforts to overcome barriers to energy storage deployment will open up a robust local market and attract new investment to the state. Nevertheless, there is still an opportunity to strengthen the ecosystem to ensure future investments benefit in-state manufacturers and support local workers.

A strong focus on energy storage not only means a clean energy future but numerous local jobs. New York’s manufacturing industry continues to shed thousands of jobs, with local communities losing out on good wages and employment opportunities that demand all skill levels. By supporting energy storage manufacturing, New York can ensure a stronger labor market that helps workers and jobseekers access living-wage jobs and bolster local economies. Furthermore, greater energy storage deployment will create more middle-wage jobs in project development, installation, operations, and maintenance.

New York can amplify the industry’s potential by harnessing its key assets:

  • A rapidly growing energy storage market. The $11.8 billion global market is estimated to grow 8.4 percent each year up to 2022.
  • Diverse manufacturing and industry assets. New York is home to nearly 100 energy storage companies with expertise in hardware manufacturing, advanced materials, software development, and project management.
  • Cutting-edge research. The state ranks fifth in the nation for energy storage patents due to the depth of research at New York’s universities, national lab, and businesses.
  • Clean energy leadership. State and local leaders recognize energy storage as a key enabling technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing renewable energy generation, and improving building efficiency.
  • The opportunity to support good-paying jobs. The American Jobs Project’s independent analysis finds that New York’s energy storage industry could support 27,400 manufacturing and installation jobs by 2030, backing the state’s 30,000 jobs target.

Strategic state-level coordination could address key barriers for business development and technology deployment, elevate in-state companies in the marketplace, and create jobs for New Yorkers. In today’s competitive, globalized economy, businesses are more likely to thrive in cities and states that offer a rich innovation ecosystem, provide fertile ground for capital investment, boast a highly skilled workforce, maintain a robust value chain, and offer clear policy signals. Through an environment of coordination and cooperation, energy storage cluster development can amplify local job creation and boost economic activity.

Capitalizing on this opportunity offers real benefits for the state economy and New Yorkers. New York’s energy storage companies currently employ 3,450 workers and generate nearly $1 billion in revenue. If New York’s public and private sector leaders make concerted efforts to foster the emerging cluster, energy storage could support 27,400 jobs by 2030. Stakeholders can support these jobs by taking advantage of increasing global demand and overcoming barriers to industry growth.

Summary of Recommendations

The analysis presented in this report culminates in recommendations for New York’s public and private sector leaders based on best practices in the United States and abroad. Each recommendation identifies strategies to address barriers and untapped opportunities in the state’s energy storage industry across four foundational building blocks: innovation ecosystem, access to capital, workforce development, and value chain. While each recommendation can be viewed as a stand-alone option, the recommendations are intended to be complementary and would be more powerful if adopted as a package.

Innovation Ecosystem

Policy 1: Establish an Innovation Voucher Program

New York has significantly invested in state-of-the-art testing facilities to support energy storage technology development; however, early-stage startups face a dilemma of requiring both prototype testing to build investor confidence and funding to afford testing resources. Through an innovation voucher program, New York’s leaders could enable small businesses to better access testing and consultation services at state-supported facilities.

Policy 2: Strengthen the Entrepreneurial Culture at Universities

New York’s universities excel at fundamental energy storage research and having a strong focus on entrepreneurship and commercialization could multiply the economic impact of this cutting-edge research. University leaders could build a strong entrepreneurial culture on campus by adopting policies and programs, such as including technology transfer as a criterion for tenure and promotion, allowing faculty leaves of absence for entrepreneurial ventures, facilitating faculty entrepreneur mentorship programs, and establishing pre-negotiated relationships with local service companies frequently used by spin-offs.

Access to Capital

Policy 3: Facilitate Startups’ Access to Educated Investors

Because energy storage encompasses many diverse technologies and use cases, potential investors who lack industry expertise and want quick returns may be unable to see the value proposition of individual businesses. To overcome this information barrier, New York institutions engaged in the energy storage startup ecosystem could host industry-specific investor education events and startup-investor networking opportunities throughout the state.

Policy 4: Establish Connections to Patient Capital

Although New York offers a wealth of financial resources, energy storage manufacturers still struggle to access capital because of low funding levels, reimbursement-based grants, private match requirements, and short-term funding. To facilitate more patient capital for local companies, public and private sector leaders could engage philanthropic foundations and broker program- and mission-related investments in the state.

Workforce Development

Policy 5: Conduct an Energy Storage Workforce Development Study

Coordinated stakeholder discussions on short- and long-term workforce needs are critical to ensure sustainable energy storage industry growth in New York. State leaders could assemble a stakeholder group of industry players, education and workforce training providers, labor organizations, community-based organizations, and key government agencies to conduct an in-depth study on the types of jobs needed for energy storage manufacturing and deployment as well as the appropriate timescale for preparing the workforce.

Policy 6: Expand Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training

New York’s energy storage industry will require a skilled and ready technical workforce; however, clean energy businesses still struggle to find qualified job candidates and many jobseekers lack the educational foundation to access technical training programs. Community colleges could expand Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) programs to help students develop basic math and literacy competency while preparing for electrical, clean energy, and advanced manufacturing career pathways.

Policy 7: Build a State-Level Network of Qualified Energy Storage Contractors

As energy storage becomes mainstream, New York will require qualified contractors to ensure safe installations, boost customer confidence in the technology, and strengthen the local market. Similar to its requirements for solar PV contractors, NYSERDA could identify and help build relevant credentialing paths that make a contractor eligible to participate in the qualified energy storage contractor network and engage in its energy storage programs.

Policy 8: Establish an Energy Storage Job Board

Building career awareness will be critical to helping New Yorkers take advantage of the thousands of jobs that the energy storage industry could support. New York’s leaders have the opportunity to create an industry-specific job board that showcases what jobs are available and serves as a resource for local businesses, jobseekers, training providers, employment agencies, and policymakers.

Value Chain

Policy 9: Map the Local Energy Storage Supply Chain  

Supply chain mapping is key for understanding what industry assets exist and what gaps remain for businesses and jobs to thrive in the state. New York’s leaders could build upon NY-BEST’s online supply chain map to create a comprehensive and interactive resource that can help businesses facilitate connections with potential suppliers and customers as well as help policymakers and economic development organizations attract investment and recruit businesses.

Policy 10: Bolster Foreign Direct Investment in the Energy Storage Industry

Foreign direct investment (FDI) could support energy storage industry growth by strengthening in-state manufacturing, filling critical supply chain gaps, and bringing new jobs and capital into the New York economy. State and local leaders could make a concerted effort to bolster FDI outreach by identifying business recruitment targets, better marketing New York’s energy storage assets, leveraging connections with international energy storage clusters and research institutions, hosting leading energy storage conferences, and dedicating funds for business attraction.