The percentage of electricity generated from renewable energy sources continues to grow in the US, particularly from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Technologies that can facilitate increased deployment of renewable energy, such as distributed energy storage, are becoming more vital, according to a new report from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).
Estimates indicate that there are at least 270 distributed energy storage projects (deployed or planned) across the United States, according to the report, “Deploying Distributed Energy Storage: Near-term Regulatory Considerations to Maximize Benefits.” These projects are mostly concentrated in Hawaii, California and the Mid-Atlantic. The majority of states are home to just one or a handful of projects, while 14 states have no distributed storage projects at all.
The report finds that several state regulators are demonstrating interest in energy storage with studies, working groups, workshops, and/or pilot programs.
The Commission initiated an investigation into potential impacts on current utility business models from innovation and developments in the generation and delivery of energy. It held two workshops focused specifically on distributed and central energy storage in spring 2014 as part of this investigation.
The Commission required the Public Service Company of Colorado (dba Xcel Energy) to investigate potential storage options for its electric system and report back. The report is pending.
The Iowa Utilities Board initiated an “Inquiry on Distributed Generation” to address a variety of issues related to distributed generation. Storage was included in the scope of the inquiry, although it was not the only focus.
Per legislation passed in 2013, consultants to the Department of Commerce published the “White Paper Analysis of Utility-Managed, On-Site Energy Storage in Minnesota.”
New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program created the Energy Storage Working Group in July 2013 with the purpose of providing stakeholder input into the development of energy storage incentives.
In 2013, the New Mexico Renewable Energy Storage Task force held four meetings to review, discuss and study energy storage. The Task Force developed a list of recommendations to the legislature for future activities and actions.
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) supported the creation of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST) in 2010. With more than 130 members, it focuses on research and development, hosts conferences and industry networking events and participates in select regulatory proceedings.
The Oregon Department of Energy and the Oregon Public Utility Commission hosted an Energy Storage Workshop in March 2014. The Department subsequently sought comments on the design of a potential program to support demonstration projects.
Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey
All four states have developed funding opportunities or financing targeting municipalities and/or community-identified “critical facilities” to install microgrids (resilient power projects) able to disconnect from the grid in the case of emergency.