The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (“MassCEC”) released their long-awaited report on energy storage, “State of Charge” (the “Storage Study”) on Friday. The Storage Study is a central component of the Commonwealth’s “Energy Storage Initiative” and is likely to serve as the basis for future policy initiatives. It recommends a suite of policies designed to promote the development of 600 MW of advanced energy storage (i.e. energy storage other than pumped hydro) in Massachusetts by 2025, which it asserts would provide $800 million in system benefits to Massachusetts ratepayers, increase grid resiliency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Storage Study’s smorgasbord of policy proposals builds off of Massachusetts’s experience with other energy technologies, such as solar and energy efficiency. And many of the proposals involve adapting ongoing or established programs or regulatory processes. Without attempting to be comprehensive, the Storage Study includes the following proposals:
- Clarify the ability of electric distribution companies to invest in advanced energy storage resources through the “Grid Modernization” process that is underway at the Department of Public Utilities.
- Clarify Department of Public Utilities guidelines to accommodate the use of advanced energy storage in demand reduction programs as part of Energy Efficiency Investment Plans.
- Expand the $10 million DOER/MassCEC RFP for storage project demonstrations, which is expected to be released this fall, from $10 million to $20 million.
- Implement a “Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Storage Program,” (“MOR-Storage”), modeled on DOER’s MOR-EV rebate program for electric vehicles, that would provide rebates to businesses that invest in customer-sited storage projects.
- Implement a “Solar plus Storage” pilot program that uses MassCEC funds to finance site assessments for small commercial and industrial facilities.
- Use DOER’s “Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative,” to provide grants to municipal resilience projects that use clean energy plus storage solutions to protect critical facilities from power outages.
- Add storage as an eligible technology for the Green Communities grant program.
- Use $ 4.5 million in grants from DOER for peak demand reduction demonstration projects to support advanced energy storage solutions.
- Amend the Alternative Portfolio Standard (“APS”) to include all types of advanced energy storage. (Currently only limited types of energy storage technologies are eligible to generate APS credits.)
- Incorporate incentives for behind-the-meter advanced energy storage in developing the next generation solar incentive program for Massachusetts (i.e. the successor to the SREC II program).
- Create an “Advanced Storage Working Group” at ISO-NE to facilitate processes for easier participation of advanced energy storage resources in ISO-NE markets.
- Facilitate the adoption of codes and standards for the safe deployment of advanced energy storage systems.
- Increase investment in advanced energy storage companies in Massachusetts to promote the growth of an “energy storage cluster” in Massachusetts.
Together, these policy initiatives could prove an effective spur to the deployment of energy storage in Massachusetts. The Study notes that Massachusetts, with less than 2 MW of advanced energy storage deployed, has lagged behind states that have more aggressively created market opportunities for energy storage, and that Massachusetts ratepayers could benefit substantially from smart deployment of new storage resources.
DOER and MassCEC will hold a listening session on the Storage Study on Tuesday, September 27th 9:30am-12:30pm in the Tower Auditorium, Massachusetts College of Art and Design 621 Huntington Ave, Boston.