Massachusetts makes energy storage a priority with $20 million in grants

Massachusetts energy storage

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources was awarded $20 million in grants to 26 projects that will develop the region’s energy storage market. This number actually doubles the administration’s original funding plans. Overall, these projects will benefit 25 communities and draw in $32 million in matching funds, helping to grow the Commonwealth’s energy storage economy.

The announcement was made by Governor Baker during an event at UMass Memorial – Marlborough Hospital. The critical care facility will use funding received under the grant program to integrate a 400kw solar canopy and energy storage system, reduce energy use and costs, shave its peak demand and increase its overall resilience.

“The development and deployment of energy storage projects will be vital to the Commonwealth’s ability to continue leading the nation in energy efficiency,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Funding these storage projects is an investment in our energy portfolio that will reduce costs for ratepayers and help create a clean and resilient energy future.”

Launched by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2015, the ESI aims to make Massachusetts a national leader in energy storage by analyzing opportunities to support energy storage companies, accelerating the development of early commercial storage technologies and developing policy options to encourage energy storage deployment. The first phase of the ESI, the State of Charge study released in September 2016, identified hundreds of millions of dollars of potential ratepayer benefits from the deployment of energy storage in Massachusetts. The study analyzed the benefits of 10 specific use cases to evaluate how storage economics vary by business model, market involvement and location. These awards represent eight of those use cases and an additional use case not previously identified in the report.

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Energy storage technologies include batteries, flywheels, thermal storage, and pumped hydroelectric storage, which are capable of storing energy during off peak periods when costs are low and then make energy available during peak periods when costs are higher. Energy storage also makes it possible to increase the effectiveness of renewable energy sources, like solar, by storing energy generated during the day for use at night. Energy storage can also provide power during outages, result in greenhouse gas reductions, and increase the electric grid’s overall reliability and resilience.

The grants were awarded as part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Energy Storage Initiative (ESI) Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) program, funded by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) through Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP) and administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).

“Energy storage is a strategic opportunity for the Commonwealth to transform the way we utilize our energy resources,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “The projects receiving funding through the ACES program will provide a roadmap for how Massachusetts can integrate storage into our diversified energy portfolio to lower overall energy costs, increase grid efficiency by decreasing peak demand, and more effectively utilize our strong clean energy sector.”

— Solar Builder magazine

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