January 4, 2016
State Energy Storage Legislation: A Look Back at 2015
By Seth Mullendore
2015 was quite a year for energy storage, from Elon Musk’s Powerwall announcement to the recent gigawatt storage procurement commitment AES Energy made with LG Chem. GTM Research Senior Energy Storage Analyst Ravi Manghani called 2015 “a breakout year for the U.S. energy storage market.” According to GTM more energy storage was been deployed in the U.S. last year than in any previous year, a trend that’s expected to continue.
In addition to utilities and the energy industry, state legislatures also started paying more attention to energy storage last year. And it wasn’t just California passing energy storage legislation in 2015. Along with energy storage projects popping up across the country in as varied locations as Vermont, Kentucky, Washington, and Arizona, eight states passed significant storage-related bills last year.
- SB 1465 provides clarity for agreements governing financing, sale, or lease of distributed energy generation systems, including energy storage.
- SB 350, California’s Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, explicitly points to storage as a means to help the state achieve its ambitious emissions goals.
- SB 1078 puts in place the regulatory tools to procure affordable and reliable electricity, which mandates that the commissioner may seek proposals and order utilities to procure energy storage when it is deemed to be cost-effective.
- SB 1502 outlines a state budget including a section which states that each electric distribution company shall submit a proposal to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for a pilot program to build, own, or operate grid-side system enhancements, including energy storage systems.
- HF 3, the state’s omnibus employment, economic development, jobs, and energy bill, includes a provision that utilities shall identify grid modernization investments, such as energy storage and microgrids, to improve security and conservation.
- S 2016 includes $20 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) appropriations to be allocated by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for grants to state departments, agencies, authorities, and public colleges and universities for renewable and energy efficiency projects, which specifically includes energy storage as one of the eligible technologies.
- HB 2193 directs the state’s electric companies to procure one or more energy storage systems capable of storing a specified energy capacity.
- HB 40 establishes an energy transformation requirement that utilities must meet through distributed renewable generation or projects that reduce the state’s fossil fuel consumption, including storage of renewable energy.
- HB 115 sets aside $44 million in grants to be directed towards renewables advancement and technologies, specifically including energy storage.
Another four states, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, have pending energy storage legislation on the books.
2015 also saw energy storage bills proposed at the federal level, including S 1434, which would establish a national energy storage portfolio standard. The 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit, which can be applied to storage when paired with solar, was also unexpectedly extended at the end of the year.
These legislative steps will help lay the foundation for big advancements in energy storage throughout the coming years. If 2015 was any indication, we can expect to see many more momentous energy storage announcements in 2016.