Electricity storage may be the talk of the town, but it\u2019s not quite ready for prime time except for conventional pumped storage, a panel of experts told a national meeting of utility regulators in Los Angeles July 19. With the drive to renewable energy and a more reliable grid \u201cstorage seems like the holy grail,\u201d observed New Jersey Board of Public Utilities member Jeanne Fox. But the economics remain problematical and are unlikely to become favorable for at least ten years, according to Haresh Kamath, Electric Power Research Institute strategic program manager. For the next decade, he and other experts told a meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, regulators should view storage--except for pumped hydropower--as an emerging technology that can be used selectively and without necessarily providing any cost savings to ratepayers. \u201cWe should look at storage as having some value in limited places,\u201d Kamath said. Specifically, large-scale and distributed storage systems can provide a number of services for the grid, including frequency regulation, help in integrating renewable energy, and load shifting, according Landis Kannberg, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory renewable energy coordinator. He said the Bonneville Power Administration already is providing such services to the California Independent System Operator using flywheels to store power from its extensive hydropower system. But Kannberg added that significant advances in the use of storage are partly dependent on making the grid \u201csmart.\u201d Embedded sensors and controls are needed to make the best use of stored energy and they are, for the most part, not there yet. EPRI\u2019s Kamath said one of the leading emergent technologies to store bulk power to feed the grid on a wide-scale basis is compressed air. Leading technologies for storing power at the local distribution level include lead acid, lithium ion, and high temperature sodium batteries. Kamath said lithium ion batteries, which are used in electric vehicles, may become the most economical technology for distributed energy storage. That\u2019s because automakers are driving down their price by mass producing them for cars. He envisioned the day when automakers would refurbish used batteries from electric cars and sell them to utilities for storing electricity in their distribution systems.