Energy Storage

Parties weigh in on Nev. PUC storage target proposal

NV Energy is pushing back on a proposed energy storage target for Nevada.

In an Oct. 31 filing with the state’s Public Utilities Commission, NV Energy said existing processes provide “appropriate and flexible venues” for evaluating and comparing the merits of energy storage systems whether they are on the transmission or distribution system or are behind-the-meter.

In its filing, investor-owned NV Energy noted that it has a previously stated goal to “ultimately” deliver 100% renewable energy to its customers and “that cannot be achieved without procuring at some point the kinds of levels of energy storage presented in the Report.”

Although the Brattle report contains “useful information,” NV Energy found that the “significant assumptions and high level of uncertainty” in the report raise fundamental issues as to whether the existing regulatory framework renders the setting of energy storage procurement targets “unnecessary and impractical.”

NV Energy also said that its integrated resource planning process provides a more thorough and detailed analysis of needs than Brattle’s analysis.

The Brattle report found that up to 175 MW of utility-scale battery storage could be deployed cost effectively in Nevada by 2020. And, by 2030, that figure could rise to 700 MW or to even more than 1,000 MW.

In May, NV Energy contracted to build more than 1,000 MW of renewable energy resources and requested PUC approval to build 100 MW of battery energy capacity.

Under a state law (SB 204) passed in 2017, the PUC is tasked with determining whether or not it is in the public interest to establish biennial targets for the procurement of energy storage resources.

Bureau of Consumer Protection

Citing the Brattle report, the state’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said, “the applications of electric storage that can be cost justified in Nevada at the present time or near term, appear to be marginal at best.”

That situation is likely to change as the costs of batteries continues to decline and industry continues to make technological advances, but because “comparatively little battery storage can be justified at this time, it is best to take small, modest steps” such as pilot projects or surgically targeting areas where the benefits of battery storage are demonstrable.

The Energy Storage Association argued that the report demonstrates that the benefits of energy storage outweigh the costs for the deployment of 200 MW by 2020 and 1,000 MW by 2030, as well as 40 MW of behind-the-meter storage.

The Energy Storage Association also notes that the report takes a “conservative approach” that underestimates the value of the use of energy storage for applications such as transmission and distribution deferral and for the behind-the-meter batteries to earn revenues from ancillary services.

Western Resources Advocates, an environmental advocacy group, argued in favor of energy storage procurement targets.

The group said increasing the level of energy storage in the state would enhance the integration of renewable energy resources by enabling the capability to shift solar power from periods of high generation to periods of high demand in the evening.