By Bill Radvak – Battery storage and energy storage technology are more than gaining more and more traction! Especially in the distributed energy resources community.

Last fall, California passed the first statewide energy storage directive in the United States. Issued by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

So the mandate requires all investor-owned utilities in the state including Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric to do this. I mean to jointly purchase “1325 megawatts of energy storage” by 2020.

The proposed targets increase between 30% and 55% every two years. Consequently, it creates economic incentives for multiple players with various technologies to enter the market reports Energy Storage North America:

  • Utilities will be allowed to employ energy storage for a variety of functions. Such as capacity, ancillary services, and peak shaving, which in turn will provide real-world data for further market expansion.

  • Utilities may own some energy storage systems and will procure at least 50% from independent developers.  This is across all segments of the grid via existing procurement processes or “all-source” solicitations starting in 2014.

California’s PUC is clearly progressive and groundbreaking and sets the stage for other states to emulate. Next up at the plate as a hot, receptive market for energy storage in North America is New York. Bill Acker, Executive Director of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium, www.ny-best.org, is positioning New York State as a global leader in energy storage technology, including applications in grid storage, transportation and power electronics.

NY also invests in battery storage

Last summer, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $23 million public-private investment in the creation of a battery storage test and commercialization center in partnership with NY-BEST which moved state-of-the-art energy storage testing capabilities from Pennsylvania to a facility at the Eastman Business Park in Rochester, New York. A few months later, the Governor’s office announced that the NOHMs Technologies is locating its pilot nanoscale battery materials manufacturing facility in Rochester and received $1.5 million in funding from the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Councils initiative.

At his 2012 state of the union address, Governor Cuomo emphasized on energy growth. “The key to powering our economic growth is expanding our energy infrastructure,” said Cuomo. “We can build a new energy system across our entire State.” Cuomo spearheaded the New York Energy Highway Blueprint which includes initiatives to modernize New York’s statewide energy system.

US Energy storage market

In his State of the State speech in Albany this month, the Governor and Vice President Biden championed community based microgrid solutions as part of his “Reimagining New York for a New Reality” initiative which is a $17 billion strategy that will transform the state’s energy supply, infrastructure, emergency management, etc., to protect people from future extreme weather.

According to Cuomo, infrastructure will transform entirely under his plan. Additionally, the plan will help prepare citizens and first responders while providing fuel and electricity. Cuomo’s mandate to launch new projects across the state is a critical economic reform in this year’s budget. Their purpose is twofold: to create green jobs and protect New York’s natural environment.

Energy storage technology 101! Tesla Powepack system at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg.
Tesla Powepack system at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg.

Protecting against extreme weather

“Community grids protect people, businesses and infrastructure from the devastation of extreme weather and from extended power outages, as were experienced following Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee,” said Jim Gallagher, Executive Director, New York State Smart Grid Consortium.

Moreover, in December 2013 the U.S. Department of Energy released a Grid Energy Storage report which examined the challenges. As well as solutions for energy storage technology development. Moreover widespread installation of this energy storage technology.

Therefore, the report addresses a couple of key issues: safety and cost sensitive pricing. This report clearly signals to me that the U.S. government clearly wants to create a substantial energy storage marketplace. It also lays the groundwork to make this a reality.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bill Radvak is President & CEO of American Vanadium Corp., www.americanvanadium.com, which is developing America’s only domestic source of vanadium electrolyte.

Bill Radvac
Bill Radvac