Energy storage groups point out storage’s role in New York’s renewable energy goals

The New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST), as a follow-up to a May 26 technical conference convened by the Department of Public Service (DPS), on June 9 filed comments with the New York State Public Service Commission on the key contributions that energy storage can make to New York’s renewable energy goals.

The technical conference was held to discuss energy storage and explore actions the commission may take in furtherance of Clean Energy Standard (CES) and Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) objectives. “On behalf of our more than 150 organizational members, NY-BEST is grateful to the DPS staff and the Public Service Commission for recognizing the critical role for energy storage in transforming the state’s electric grid and achieving the State’s renewable energy and climate protection goals and for your interest in stimulating markets for storage,” said the June 9 filing.

It added: “New York has established aggressive goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adopting renewable energy sources. The 2015 State Energy Plan states that 50 percent of all electricity used in New York State by 2030 should be generated from renewable energy sources (the 50 by 30 goal.) The State goal of having 50 percent of generation from renewable energy by 2030 implies that nearly 30 percent will likely have to come from solar and wind since according to the State Energy Plan, the potential contributions for hydropower and bioenergy are 20 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

“According to projections by DPS staff in the Staff White Paper on Clean Energy Standard, overall electricity demand in New York by the year 2030 will exceed 185,000 GWh. However, DPS staff further estimates that 35,000 GWh of this demand can be addressed by energy efficiency measures, resulting in a statewide energy need by generation of 150,000 GWh. Meeting this need with 50 percent renewable energy sources implies that 75,000 GWh of renewable energy will be needed in the state by that year. Factoring in hydropower and bioenergy, the remaining renewable energy to meet the 50 percent goal could be achieved, for example, by equal amounts of solar and wind power.

“With a typical capacity factor of 17 percent, producing that amount of energy from PV would require 14 GW of installed capacity. With a capacity factor of 35 percent, 7 GW of wind power capacity would be needed. In total, therefore, meeting the 50% renewable goals will require deploying approximately 21 GW of intermittent renewable energy in the state.”

A growing number of studies have looked at how large amounts of intermittent renewable energy can be incorporated into the grid and they conclude that substantial amounts of storage will be required., NY Best said. The intermittent nature of wind and solar power leads to two problems related to flexibility:

  • the need for backup capability, and
  • the potential for necessary curtailment.

“In the absence of substantial amounts of energy storage, the first problem results in the continued need for costly conventional peaker plants that produce substantial carbon emissions and criteria air pollutants,” NY Best added. “The second problem results in wasted energy and reduced capacity factor.

“Flexibility indicates the capability of the system to accommodate variability and uncertainty in demand, production from variable renewable resources like wind and solar, and other unforeseen events. Historically, flexibility has not been a primary concern and has not been systematically evaluated in utility planning studies. Growth in the share of energy produced by variable renewable energy will increase variability and uncertainty, potentially making flexibility more important in the future. A recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory assessed the importance of having a sufficient flexibility supply in the presence of increasing amounts of variable renewable generation on the grid.

“Bulk energy storage is particularly well-suited to providing flexibility because it can provide its full nameplate capacity bi-directionally: it can both provide needed power and absorb excess power on short notice. This capability is important for eliminating the impact of short-term fluctuations in renewable output.

“Having enough storage on the grid will greatly decrease the need to turn to gas-fired generation plants to meet any short-term demand and eliminating the use of these plants is an essential part of achieving the State’s emissions goals. Of at least equal importance is the ability to time-shift renewable energy in order to match the demand profile.

“This is an important consideration because a major fraction of the state’s electricity demand is in the greater New York City area. That is also where a large amount of behind-the-meter solar generation capability is being installed, for the most part in the outer boroughs. The load curve in those areas does not match up well with the generation profile, which peaks in the afternoon. For example, peak demand in Manhattan occurs during the afternoon and in the residential areas of the City and the New York Metro suburbs, peak demand occurs in the evening, when people have returned from work. Thus, in these areas, there is significant value in time-shifting the output of suburban solar generation by roughly four to six hours. Substantial storage resources can provide this capability. In general, the ability to time-shift the output of both solar and wind generation sources using storage greatly enhances the value of those sources to the grid.”

The New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium is a not-for-profit industry trade association that serves as a voice of the energy storage industry for more than 150 member organizations on matters related to advanced batteries and energy storage technologies.

SolarCity proposes specific targets as key to storage development

SolarCity Corp. filed June 9 comments of its own in this docket, writing: “While storage is extremely important and valuable in the CES and REV, the current policies and energy markets in New York do not enable the full value of storage to be realized, which restricts the opportunities for economically-viable storage deployment. In order to realize the full value of storage, changes must be made to market rules, tariff structures, grid planning and operations, and permitting and interconnection. Once these necessary changes are made, storage will be deployed quickly and cost-effectively, and will simultaneously provide multiple values to customers and the system.

“But focusing on these long-term improvements to policy and market rules is not enough to enable the deployment and operation of storage to support CES and REV goals. Additional policy support is required in the near-term to kick-start and animate the storage market. Enabling policies that drive deployment of storage today will allow new market, planning, and operations concepts to be tested and validated at sufficient scale, and will help accelerate storage cost reductions.

“The most direct way to ensure that storage gets deployed and provides grid value is to impose clear obligations to meet deployment targets. These deployment targets should be tied to the use of storage for specific types of services that support REV and CES, and not result in under-utilized assets. Specific targets should be established for storage that provides value through participation in relevant markets, contracts, or tariffs that support CES and REV at the (1) transmission-level, (2) distribution-level, and (3) customer-level. Specific targets should be established by year at each system-level for each obligated party.”

Energy Storage Association also offers ideas

Said June 9 comments from the Energy Storage Association (ESA): “ESA agrees generally with the comments of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST). Establishing a storage procurement target will drive the necessary learning-by-doing for regulators and system stakeholders that will result in an empirically-tested, facilitative regulatory framework.

“Analysis cited by NY-BEST indicates that a capacity of more than 4 GW of multi-hour storage will be necessary to integrate sufficient renewable generation to meet a 50 percent Clean Energy Standard. ESA supports the use of that analysis to establish a state storage procurement target. Alternatively, a target of 1 GW of multi-hour storage across all segments by 2022, rising to 2 GW by 2025, would support New York’s low-carbon transition and grid transformation goals in a ‘no regrets’ manner, since there is low risk of storage over-procurement relative to the expected system need. Additionally, such procurements can increase system and local reliability margins for utilities as they transition into their role as Distributed System Providers (DSPs) and prepare to integrate higher levels of distributed energy resources.

“The storage procurement target should thus include projects on both sides of the substation and both sides of the customer meter, meet a diversity of system needs, and allow for all ownership models; DSPs and the PSC can then maximize learning about the utility and cost-effectiveness of storage under a diversity of system conditions.

“ESA also encourages the PSC to explore NY-BEST’s proposal of an Asset Utilization Tariff. Additionally, in response to the question posed prior to the technical conference on using RECs to align renewable production with load profile and location, ESA recommends that the PSC investigate the use of an additional energy certificate system that rewards temporal and/or locational value. Because energy storage can provide the same time-shifting and other flexibility services to the grid whether or not it is colocated with renewable generation sources, it is important to ensure that certificate systems intending to better align renewable generation with load do not constrain storage to a narrow set of eligible configurations. For example, storage and other flexible resources could be eligible for Flexible Energy Certificates (FLECs), which would be produced in parallel with RECs and differentiated by time of day and/or location of delivery to signal additional value to flexible resources meeting those criteria. The PSC could use forecasts of net demand—that is, the difference between gross demand and variable renewable generation—to establish the target quantities of FLECs to be procured.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.