4 Stories Shaping the Agenda at the ESA Policy Forum

ESA blog by Tim Morris

In just three weeks, energy storage stakeholders will arrive at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. for a fully packed day at the 4th Annual Energy Storage Policy Forum.

The industry has been moving at a rapid pace over the past several months, so there’s a lot of ground to cover: 

1. New Storage Rules and the Future of Wholesale Markets

Ruling on the Department of Energy’s proposed grid resilience measures, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently requested that regional grid operators examine the resilience of their systems, setting up a discussion of holistic approaches to improving power system resilience. Meanwhile, anticipating an order on storage from FERC in the future, some RTOs and ISOs have already begun to work on new rules for storage. And previous debates on state policy support for wholesale market resources have not yet been resolved. Following a keynote address by FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson on the “Next Agenda of Electricity Markets,” Chantal Hendrzak, PJM Interconnection, J. Arnold Quinn, FERC and Michael DeSocio, New York ISO will lead a wholesale markets panel discussion on changing wholesale generation mix, resilience vs. reliability, pricing carbon emissions, and response to state policy support for certain resources.

2. Storage Enters Long-Term Utility Planning Processes

State regulators are beginning to understand the role energy storage can play in meeting the electric grid’s future capacity and infrastructure needs. Three states now require utilities to examine storage in integrated resource planning, and several other states are discussing how storage fits into distribution grid modernization. At the same time, millions of dollars in incentive programs for storage have been developed or expanded in states across the U.S. over the past year. During the state policy discussion “Putting Storage in the Plan,” panelists Andy Tobin, Arizona Corporation Commission, James Griffin, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, and David Danner, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and Andrew Johnston, Maryland Public Service Commission will discuss storage in integrated resource planning, grid modernization / distribution planning, and public policy-driven planning efforts such as renewable portfolio standards and disaster resilience.

3. What Happens Next in New York after Storage Targets are Unveiled

To start off 2018, New York Governor Cuomo announced a 1.5 GW storage deployment target by 2025 for the Empire State. This goal, along with additional financial commitments of $260 million, tees-up the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) to have a central role in hitting the mark. As part of her state keynote address, Alicia Barton, NYSERDA’s CEO and President will discuss their role in meeting the target, along with other major initiatives underway in New York's state agencies.

4. Powering Recovery in Puerto Rico

2017 brought a series of catastrophic hurricanes across the Southern U.S. and the Caribbean. In their aftermath, power system resilience has become increasingly important to state and federal policymakers. Particularly, with an estimated 450 thousand residents of Puerto Rico still without power, the role of energy storage and distributed energy resources in rebuilding and mitigating the impact of future disasters has come to the forefront. Tanuj Deora, Smart Electric Power Alliance will lead a breakout session on how energy storage can help re-power Puerto Rico and bolster future resilience planning, while illuminating state & federal policy barriers and forthcoming opportunities.

There is much more to discover on this year’s agenda, reflecting an exciting time for energy storage. Conversations at the federal level and in state capitals across the U.S. are moving fast, but the ESA Policy Forum will keep you up-to-speed.

I hope to see you there on February 14.