A new tool published by the independent Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Charging Ahead: An Energy Storage Guide for State Policymakers, provides regulators and other decision makers with specific guidance on key issues for policy consideration, including foundational policies for advanced energy storage—a new generation of technologies characterized by flexible operating capabilities and diverse applications.
The characteristics that make energy storage so valuable and attractive also make it challenging to address in policy and regulatory contexts.
Despite its game-changing potential to transform the electricity system, energy storage is vastly underutilized in the U.S. electricity sector. Its deployment remains hampered by the current features of regional, state and federal regulatory frameworks, traditional utility planning and decision-making paradigms, electricity markets, and aspects of the technology itself.
To date, state policymakers and electric system stakeholders have largely navigated energy storage issues without the benefit of a roadmap to inform pathways for widespread deployment.
Charging Ahead provides an in-depth discussion of the most urgent actions to take to support viable energy storage markets that effectively enable states to take advantage of the full suite of advanced energy storage capabilities. Four foundational policy actions are presented for consideration:
- Clarify How Energy Storage Systems are Classified to Enable Shared Ownership and Operation Functions in Restructured Markets
- Require Proactive Consideration of Energy Storage in Utility Planning Effort
- Create Mechanisms to Capture the Full Value Stream of Storage Services.
- Ensure Fair, Streamlined, and Cost Effective Grid Access for Energy Storage System
"Deploying energy storage at scale and optimizing its benefits will require innovative and forward-thinking policies to integrate it into existing electric system operations and state regulatory frameworks," explains IREC Regulatory Director Sara Baldwin Auck.
"As IREC works in numerous diverse states, we consistently observe that while the market players are ready to act, the regulatory structure is not keeping up with them," adds co-author Sky Stanfield, an attorney who represents IREC in storage proceedings. This guide is intended to alter that paradigm and encourage states to proactively adopt policy and regulatory solutions that address energy storage barriers more holistically and help set a glide path for the widespread integration of energy storage technologies on the grid."
The guide was released at the Energy Storage Association's 27th Annual Conference and Expo in Denver, CO. "The ESA conference brings together the global energy industry for forward-looking content," says ESA Executive Director Matt Roberts. "It provides a perfect opportunity to work with IREC on the dissemination of this important tool for policymakers."