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The outlook for Energy Storage in New York is bright – here’s why

By William Acker
New York’s iconic Time Square – time to be lit up with clean energy? Image: Wikimedia user: Chensiyuan.

2018 promises to be an exciting year for energy storage in New York State. The year began with a major announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo who, in his annual State of the State address, announced a new energy storage initiative and set an unprecedented 1.5GW target for energy storage deployment in the state by 2025. Governor Cuomo also announced the investment of more than US$260 million in funding to accelerate the growth of the industry. The initiative is intended to spur the widespread deployment of energy storage systems in the state and grow 30,000 jobs in the state’s energy storage industry.

Governor Cuomo’s announcement came on the heels of his approval of energy storage deployment legislation at the end of 2017. The new law, which requires the Public Service Commission to establish an energy storage goal and deployment policy for 2030, was passed unanimously, with bi-partisan support, by the NYS Legislature.

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These combined actions are a clear signal that New York is serious about energy storage.

Mapping the way forward

The key question however, is how New York will achieve the level of energy storage called for by the Governor. For the answers, the industry is looking primarily to the soon-to-be released New York State Energy Storage Roadmap. In March 2017, the NYS Public Service Commission required the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the NYS Department of Public Service staff to develop an Energy Storage Roadmap to identify current and anticipated electric system needs that storage is uniquely suited to address and the levels of energy storage that will provide net benefits to ratepayers in New York State. The Roadmap must also include “market-backed” policy and regulatory recommendations, that are consistent with the State’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative, to spur energy storage deployment in New York.

The Draft Roadmap is expected to be submitted to the NYS Public Service Commission in the second quarter of 2018 and, at that time, it will become the subject of extensive public review and comment. Final action on the Roadmap by the Public Service Commission is expected in late 2018.

While there undoubtedly will be considerable and justifiable attention given to the levels of storage called for the Roadmap, the policy and regulatory mechanisms proposed to achieve the target levels will also receive a great deal of scrutiny and are essential to the success of the energy storage initiative.

New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo.

A collective effort is required

NY-BEST and our members have long actively advocated for policy and regulatory changes, as part of New York’s on-going REV process, to monetise the benefits that energy storage provides to the electric grid. From providing flexible resources to enable widespread deployment of renewable energy resources, to improving grid resiliency and efficiency, to shifting peak loads and reducing harmful emissions, storage brings a multitude of benefits to the grid that are not being fully valued in our electric system today. NY-BEST has been coordinating industry input into the Roadmap and a range of policy and regulatory options have been raised by our, including: long term contracting mechanisms, new tariff and rate structures, financial incentives as well as other innovative ideas, such as a clean peak standard.

The Energy Storage Roadmap process being undertaken in New York presents a significant opportunity for the storage industry to help craft and implement new mechanisms that will provide value for the services energy storage provides. As it is often said, “the devil is in the details,” and in the case of New York’s Energy Storage Roadmap, the details of the policy recommendations will be critically important for the energy storage industry.

NY-BEST and our members look forward to continuing to participate in this important process and we invite the energy storage industry to join us. 

William Acker cuts the ribbon to inaugurate New York’s Kodak Cell Assembly Center in September last year. Image: Kodak.

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