Massachusetts sets high bar for 2020 energy storage target

massachusetts solar storage goals

Massachusetts has set a 200 megawatt hour (MWh) energy storage target to be achieved by Jan. 1, 2020. The target, set by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), builds upon Governor Charlie Baker’s Energy Storage Initiative (ESI), a $10 million commitment to analyze opportunities to support Commonwealth storage companies and develop policy options to encourage energy storage deployment.

In order to continue supporting the development of energy storage in the Commonwealth, the Administration also announced up to $10 million in additional funding for energy storage demonstration projects that are consistent with the findings of the ESI’s State of Charge study and that DOER will examine the benefits of amending the Alternative Portfolio Standard (APS) to expand the eligibility of energy storage technologies able to participate.

“As the Commonwealth continues to make unparalleled investments in renewable energy, energy storage technologies have the potential to play an integral role in effectively deploying these new resources,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This target, paired with our Energy Storage Initiative, will cause the state and industry to lead the way on exploring the most cost-effective deployment of energy storage for Massachusetts’ ratepayers.”

Energy storage potential

State of Charge, released by DOER in September 2016, identified hundreds of millions of dollars of potential ratepayer benefits from the deployment of energy storage in Massachusetts. Since its release, DOER has already implemented a number of the report’s recommendations to promote energy storage in the Commonwealth. They include, but are not limited to, becoming the first state in the nation to incentivize the pairing of energy storage with solar in the new proposed solar incentive program, SMART; authorizing the pairing of energy storage technologies with the largest procurement of clean and offshore wind energy generation in state history, 9,450,000MWh of clean energy generation and 1,600MW of offshore wind energy generation; continued energy storage grant opportunities through the Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative; and funding energy storage projects through the Peak Demand Reduction Grant Program.

“State of Charge showed that energy storage has the potential to be a game changer for Massachusetts, with hundreds of millions of dollars of ratepayer and system benefits,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton. “The 200MWh target, developed with the feedback of a wide range of stakeholders, will build upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to growing the deployment of energy storage throughout the Commonwealth.”

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In calculating the achievement of the target, DOER will consider procurement methods including, the refinement of existing clean energy procurement methods, participating in alternative compliance payment funded pilot programs in which the company is an awardee or in a partnership with an awardee, and through the use of energy efficiency funds. Additionally, the target sets a flexible goal for the electric distribution companies to identify the most cost-effective applications and the best locations for energy storage deployment, including both in front of the meter and behind the meter applications.

“Massachusetts should be congratulated for their holistic efforts to incorporate energy storage into multiple state programs focused on clean energy and grid reliability,” said Matt Roberts, Executive Director of the Energy Storage Association. “We look forward to working with the Baker-Polito Administration and leaders in the Legislature to build upon this initial target so that Massachusetts residents can reap the benefits of a more reliable, flexible, and affordable electric grid.”

 

— Solar Builder magazine

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