April 17, 2015

New Jersey Leverages Markets to Support Resilient Solar+Storage Deployment

By Todd Olinsky-Paul

blogphoto-NJ-imageThe results of New Jersey’s Renewable Electric Storage Competitive Solicitation are in, and they are impressive.  With only $3 million to spend, the state Board of Public Utilities has announced awards to 13 solar+storage projects (one also uses a significant amount of wind generation) that will provide resilient power to critical facilities such as schools serving as emergency shelters and wastewater treatment plants.

The storage capacity of the projects ranges from 250 kW to 1.5 MW, and the hours of islanded operation range from 2 to 10. Total storage capacity to be installed is 8,750 kW. Significantly, every one of the 13 projects plans to sell frequency regulation services into the PJM interconnection.

Given the success of the program (the first round was oversubscribed, with 22 applications seeking $4.6 million in incentives), The NJ BPU is already planning to double its investment to $6 million for a second round of funding, and is considering whether to continue the program as a competitive solicitation, move to a rolling solicitation, or restructure the program as a prescriptive rebate program. The BPU is also considering whether to open the program to private facilities that serve a public good; whether to require minimum warranties; how to handle public information requests for data from private firms; and which tracking metrics to use in monitoring project performance.

We think this New Jersey resilient power program signals the future of state resilient power efforts, in a number of ways:

  • It relies on the energy services markets to support project finances, with a relatively small state incentive ($230,000 per project on average) to compensate developers for locating systems at critical public facilities and providing islanding capacity
  • It relies on private developers to deploy resilient power systems at public facilities, and contemplates the future eligibility of private facilities serving public purposes
  • It contemplates a move away from competitive solicitations and toward a prescriptive rebate program, which would simplify project administration and speed application turnaround times
  • It funds renewables paired with energy storage systems exclusively

Clean Energy Group applauds the good work of the New Jersey BPU and will continue to support the state’s Renewable Electric Storage program.

More information on the New Jersey BPU’s energy storage solicitation is available here.

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Associated CEG Initiative(s)

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