Testimony Presented To Joint Committee On Revenue House Bill 2600 An Act Relative To Promote Energy Storage Systems

Posted: May 31, 2017 - 15:24 / Massachusetts / ESA Filings
Chairs Brady and Kaufman, Vice-Chairs Creem and Campbell, and Members of the Committee, thank you for holding this hearing today. I am the Policy & Advocacy Director at the Energy Storage Association. Our nation-wide membership comprises nearly 200 electric utilities, developers, manufacturers, and other companies directly involved in advanced energy storage.  Several of our members conduct energy storage or related business activities in Massachusetts.
 
The Energy Storage Association supports House Bill 2600 providing a property tax exemption and rebate program for energy storage systems purchased by Massachusetts businesses and households for reliable power.
In simplest terms, energy storage enables electricity that is generated to be used at a later time, “warehousing” it for when it is most needed—batteries being the most common technology deployed today. By adding this flexibility to the grid, energy storage can reduce peak electricity demand, offset costly infrastructure investments, supply back-up power, integrate variable wind and solar power, and improve the resiliency of the grid.
 
However, there are still barriers to the widespread deployment of energy storage on the electric grid. Energy storage is unlike any other resource and does not fit existing electric system constructs—sometimes it acts like supply, sometimes it acts like demand, sometimes it acts like infrastructure, and it can switch between these roles at will. That multi-service flexibility is what make storage so valuable. But it’s very different than the technologies utilities and customers are used to. The greatest barrier is a lack of understanding of how to value and plan for energy storage on the electric grid, given that it is a very different technology than what has been on the grid in the past.
 
Electric grid planning, valuation, interconnection, procurement, and rate design processes should be updated to fully consider energy storage as an alternative to traditional grid solutions. One of the best ways to begin overcoming this barrier is to learn-by-doing. Deploying energy storage systems on the grid will provide opportunities for utilities, regulators, third-party developers, and customers to understand how best to integrate and utilize this new versatile resource. And customer-sited energy storage is particularly relevant to learn from, as households and businesses meeting their own needs can also provide benefits to the rest of the grid. For example, electric customers using energy storage deployments to control their bills or self-consume rooftop solar power would also reduce grid stress during peak periods of demand, both on the system as a whole and on the local circuit or substation.