Massachusetts aims for 200-MWh energy storage target by Jan. 1, 2020

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration recently announced a 200-MWh energy storage target to be achieved by Jan. 1, 2020, in accordance with bipartisan energy diversification legislation that Baker signed last August, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

The target, set by the state Department of Energy Resources (DOER), builds upon Baker’s Energy Storage Initiative (ESI), which is a $10m commitment to analyze opportunities to support Massachusetts storage companies and develop policy options to encourage energy storage deployment, the June 30 statement added.

The legislation signed last August, An Act Relative to Energy Diversity, requires that each electric distribution company submit a report to the DOER by Jan. 1, 2020, detailing how they have complied with the energy storage target set by the department, according to the statement.

The statement noted that to better understand the achievement of the target, the DOER has asked that the companies submit annual reports starting on Jan. 1, 2018, and has requested that the reports include:

  • Information on the amount of energy storage procured by each company
  • The cost-effectiveness of the energy storage projects undertaken
  • How wholesale market opportunities were identified and monetized
  • For any recommendations for programs and policies to ensure the continued cost-effective deployment of energy storage

Based on lessons learned from the initial target, the DOER will determine whether to set additional procurement targets beyond Jan. 1, 2020, the statement noted.

In calculating the achievement of the target, the 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, according to the statement.

The target is meant to fulfill the intention of the legislation in a way that complements the planned course of the ESI so that Massachusetts can learn about the most cost-effective and viable deployment of energy storage and inform future policies, the statement noted.

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 in front of the meter and behind the meter applications, the statement noted.

According to a June 30 letter from DOER Commissioner Judith Judson to state legislators, the administration has long recognized storage as a potential opportunity for Massachusetts.

She noted that Baker in May 2015 launched the ESI, whose first phase was the completion of a comprehensive report, “State of Charge,” detailing the value of deploying energy storage in Massachusetts and a roadmap of policy recommendations for growing the energy storage market and industry in the state. The second phase of the ESI was announced in late March when the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the DOER launched a $10m grant program known as Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage, aimed at piloting innovative, broadly replicable energy storage use cases/business models in order to prime Massachusetts for increased commercialization and deployment of storage technologies, Judson said.

According to the June 30 statement, since the release of the State of Charge report, the DOER has implemented a number of the report’s recommendations to promote energy storage in Massachusetts, including:

  • Becoming the first state in the country to incentivize the pairing of energy storage with solar in the new proposed solar incentive program, SMART. According to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs website, the DOER is working to create a long-term sustainable solar incentive program to promote cost-effective solar development in Massachusetts. DOER was scheduled to host three public hearings, including one on July 11, according to the site
  • Authorizing the pairing of energy storage technologies with the largest procurement of clean and offshore wind energy generation in state history, 9,450,000 MWh of clean energy generation and 1,600 MW of offshore wind energy generation
  • Continued energy storage grant opportunities through the Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative, which, according to the website, is a grant program focused on municipal resilience that uses clean energy technology solutions to protect communities from interruptions in energy services due to severe climate events made worse by the effects of climate change
  • Funding energy storage projects through the Peak Demand Reduction Grant Program

“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,” Baker said in the statement. “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.”

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.