Energy Storage

Colo. law calls for utility storage procurement rules

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on June 1 signed into law legislation that directs the state’s Public Utilities Commission to adopt rules establishing mechanisms for the procurement of energy storage systems by investor-owned electric utilities, based on an analysis of costs and benefits as well as factors such as grid reliability and a reduction in the need for additional peak generation capacity.

The governor signed House Bill 18-1270.

The law also requires Colorado utilities to include energy storage in their planning processes, including modeling assumptions to assess the costs and benefits of energy storage and model contracts for the procurement of energy storage systems.

The law stipulates that energy storage may be owned by an electric utility or any other person.

The Energy Storage Procurement Act sets a deadline of Feb. 1, 2019, for the PUC to develop procurement rules for energy storage. Under the law, electric utilities may file applications for rate-based energy storage projects that do not exceed 15 MW on or before May 1, 2019.

In March Hickenlooper signed SB18-009, which gives Colorado consumers the right to install energy storage systems of up to 25 kW on their properties. The law calls for a streamlined interconnection process for solar-plus-storage installations and requires that utility customers who install an energy storage system must use only a single revenue meter.

In Colorado, public power utilities are already taking a closer look at energy storage.

Colorado Springs Utilities recently issued a request for proposals for projects up to and beyond 250,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy per year. The solicitation will consider a number of technologies, including energy storage solutions in combination with renewable resources.

Colorado-based Platte River Power Authority on Feb. 21 issued a request for proposals for at least 20 megawatts of new solar energy capacity that could be added to its system. The RFP also calls for up to 5 megawatt-hours of energy storage capacity.

Investor-owned Xcel Energy is testing energy storage at two demonstration projects. One will use a battery to create a microgrid for Panasonic in conjunction with Denver International Airport. The other combines front-of-the-meter utility-scale batteries and behind-the-meter in-home batteries that will be used to integrate solar power into grid in the Stapleton neighborhood in Denver.

With passage of the laws, Colorado joins the ranks of several other states that are supporting energy storage. California led the pack with passage of AB 2514 in 2010 that requires the state’s investor-owned utilities to install 1,325 MW of energy storage by 2024. California increased that goal in May 2017 when the state’s PUC implemented AB 2868, which increased the energy storage target for IOUs by 500 MW.

Since then, Oregon has passed a law mandating that utilities in the state have at least 5 MWh of energy storage in service by Jan. 1, 2020. Massachusetts has put in place a 200 MWh target for energy storage.

More recently, New York and New Jersey have moved to encourage the expansion of storage. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year outlined a goal of adding 1,500 megawatts of energy storage by 2025.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on May 23 signed two pieces of legislation that make sweeping changes to the state’s energy policy.

Among other things, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will be required to analyze, with input from the PJM Interconnection, a range of energy storage issues including how renewable energy storage systems could benefit ratepayers by providing emergency back-up power, offsetting peak loads and stabilizing the distribution system.

The BPU has a year to file a report on storage opportunities in New Jersey and potential incentives that could support energy storage. Then, within six months, the BPU must develop a plan for getting 600 megawatts of storage by 2021 and 2,000 MW by 2030.

Meanwhile, Arizona and Nevada have both enacted laws calling for their regulators to look into setting energy storage targets and even more states, including Indiana and North Carolina and New Mexico, now require utilities to include energy storage in their resource plans.