Monday, August 15, 2016

Massachusetts Law Authorizes Energy Storage Mandate

By Deanne Barrow, in Washington

Massachusetts could have an energy storage mandate in less than a year following a new law signed by Governor Charlie Baker last week. 

An Act Relative to Energy Diversity (H. 4568) instructs the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to determine whether to set targets for electric companies to procure viable and cost-effective energy storage systems by the end of 2016. If the DOER decides that procurement targets are appropriate, then it must adopt the targets by July 1, 2017. Utilities will then have until January 1, 2020 to comply. 

There are no restrictions on the kinds of energy storage technology that can be used. Chemical systems (e.g. batteries), as well as mechanical and thermal systems (e.g. flywheels and compressed air storage) would all be eligible. 

A qualifying energy storage system must provide at least one of the following benefits: (i) reduce the emission of greenhouse gases; (ii) reduce demand for peak electrical generation; (iii) defer or substitute for an investment in generation, transmission or distribution assets; or (iv) improve the reliable operation of the grid.

Massachusetts would be the third state in the US to adopt an energy storage mandate. California established a collective mandate of 1.3 gigawatts by 2020 for all utilities in 2013. Oregon followed in 2015 with a smaller-scale mandate of 5 megawatt-hours by 2020 per utility. 

A copy of the bill can be found here.