New Program Includes Opportunities for Grants

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has released its long-awaited Energy Storage Initiative Study and simultaneously announced an $11 million program designed to help fund approximately 10 to 15 energy storage projects that will imminently add 5 megawatts of storage in Massachusetts, with a goal of 600 MWs by 2025.

The study does two things: First, it unequivocally finds that energy storage is a necessity for Massachusetts’ electric sector and lists the factors that explain why storage will shape the grid in both the near and long term. Second, the study acknowledges specific challenges and barriers that have prevented widespread deployment of storage and provides policy and program recommendations that can be implemented to grow a mature storage market.

Specifically, New England is experiencing significant amounts of generation retirements that could reach upwards of 10,000 MWs by 2020. The study found that energy storage could operate as peak generation to mitigate those retirements. Moreover, the study noted that storage is needed to provide enough energy during peak periods – and that using lower cost energy stored during off-peak periods can help meet the on-peak demand.

Moreover, the study recommends removing some of the regulatory barriers to encourage the use of storage. Such suggestions include, but are not limited to, amending Alternative Portfolio Standards to include types of advanced energy storage, establishing new policies and programs to encourage increased investment, workforce development, and research and development in new technologies that can help make the grid more efficient and reliable.

In an effort to kick off the initiative, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has made available grants totaling $11 million that will be used to add storage to the grid.