NY energy storage bill would launch program

The New York legislature has unanimously passed a bill establishing an energy storage deployment program. The bill, S. 5190, aims to promote the installation of energy storage systems. The bill now awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature, before it can take effect.

New York is in the midst of major shifts in its energy policy. Governor Cuomo's "Reforming the Energy Vision" or REV process aims to build a clean, more resilient, and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. As part of that process, last year, the Public Service Commission adopted a Clean Energy Standard which requires 50% of New York’s electricity to be generated by renewable sources by 2030, and provides support for 3 nuclear power plants considered at risk of closing. Meanwhile, the state is also reforming the way energy service companies, or retail electric suppliers, market their services.

In adopting renewable energy procurement mandates as part of the Clean Energy Standard in 2016, the Commission also considered creating specific mandates for energy storage. As noted in the order adopting the Clean Energy Standard, "Storage is a critically important component of the energy system that is both distributed and increasingly reliant on intermittent resources. Unlike other resources, the load shifting and fast response capabilities of various forms of storage resources allow them to provide simultaneous value as an energy and reliability resource. Storage can also provide value to the distribution based retail and bulk power markets... In short, it is without question that modern markets must sufficiently and accurately value storage as a vehicle to design and optimize network planning and operations."

But in that order, the Commission concluded that "as a reliability support and system optimizing resource, storage is not properly characterized as a standalone renewable energy resource under the CES. That being said, if the various mechanisms that the Commission is pursuing to ensure storage takes it rightful place as a critical resource for the modern grid prove insufficient, this topic will be revisited."

S. 5190 would change New York's position, by requiring that the Commission establish 2030 targets for the installation of qualified energy storage systems. It defines a qualified system as technology using mechanical, chemical, or thermal processes to absorb, store, and dispatch energy generated from renewable resources or mechanical processes. The bill's official justification statement cites the increased use of intermittent renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, in an effort to combat climate change, and the efficiency of using energy storage systems to solve issues relating to changes in how energy supply and demand align in time.

Three other states -- Massachusetts, California, and Oregon -- have adopted energy storage procurement policies, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is exploring how electric storage resources can be integrated into wholesale and regulated markets.