The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has taken steps to implement the use of environmentally-friendly, cost-effective energy storage resources to move the Commonwealth toward establishing a mature local market for existing and new technologies that will, in turn, benefit ratepayers and the local economy. 

The Commonwealth is encouraging energy storage and development by taking the following actions: 

1. OFFERING $10 MILLION FOR FINANCING NEW PROJECTS 

On May 28, 2015, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a new Energy Storage Initiative(ESI) to encourage investment in energy storage resources in Massachusetts. To kick off the program, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), which is responsible for administering the ESI, will use $10 million of initial funding to “pursue a multi-pronged approach to establish an energy storage market structure as well as build strategic partnerships and support storage projects at the utility, distribution system, and customer side scale.” Specifically, the Commonwealth will develop and help fund demonstration projects for a range of applications. 

2. ISSUING AN RFP FOR ENERGY STORAGE CONSULTANTS

DOER is partnering with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) on a two-part study that will start by analyzing the industry landscape, economic development, and market opportunities for energy storage as well as examining potential policies and programs that could be implemented to better support energy storage deployment in Massachusetts. The second part of the study will provide policy and regulatory recommendations along with cost-benefit analysis for state policy makers.

MassCEC and DOER will select a lead consultant for each part of the study. Applicants may propose to carry out one or both parts of the study, and MassCEC and DOER encourage applicants to form teams.Proposals are due on June 18, 2015. 

3. SCHEDULING ENERGY STORAGE STAKEHOLDER PANELS

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has announced that it will commence stakeholder discussions in advance of the August submissions by utilities of their Grid Modernization plans. During those discussions, the Department will be assessing the benefits of including cost-effective, environmentally-friendly storage resources on the grid. Companies looking to participate on a panel must make a formal request by June 15, 2015. 

4. PROPOSING LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES FOR ENERGY STORAGE

On June 2, 2015, the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy heard testimony from a number of Pierce Atwood clients in support of Senate Bill 1762, which among other things, would mandate electric companies to procure viable and cost-effective energy storage systems that would be used to defer or substitute needed investment in generation, transmission or distribution assets.