Energy Storage in the Northeast: Past, Present, and Future

By Aashil Togadia, NECEC Intern     

Sometimes referred to as the “swiss army knife” of clean energy technology due to the versatility of its uses, it’s now becoming apparent that energy storage will play a role in helping the Northeast reach its  clean energy and climate goals. On May 12, NECEC convened industry leaders and policy experts for a virtual summit to discuss lessons learned from recent regional energy storage deployments and vision for the future energy storage market.

The event featured keynotes from Steve Pike, CEO of MassCEC, and Patrick Woodcock, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), and speakers from EnelX, Borrego Solar, Sunrun, DNV, US Energy Storage Association (ESA), Evolved Energy Research, eleXsys Energy , and FirstLight Power. Steve Pike discussed the effectiveness and challenges of MassCEC’s Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) program in piloting innovative energy storage use cases and business models. ACES has provided a great foundation for energy storage initiatives in Massachusetts and there are currently 19 active projects in ACES with nine use cases and close to 32MW/85MWh in proposed storage deployment. In the first year of the program, the operational projects projected savings and revenues of $2.73 million. Commissioner Patrick spoke about how Massachusetts has progressed over the years from less than 10 MWh of energy storage deployment in 2018 to close to 180 MWh in 2020. The state has a target to generate 1000 MWh by 2025, but already has 1600 MWh of approved and qualified projects, exceeding the target by a long stretch.

During the event, panelists focused on learnings and best practices from ACES and discussed what they need in the future to support consistent growth in energy storage installations, including learning from current and past projects to create a roadmap for future projects. Adoption of new technologies and practices is never easy, and customers and end users’ enthusiasm are key to the survival and growth of the Northeast energy storage market.

The second panel focused on the future of energy storage, and panelists discussed important factors that will help energy storage grow. Speaker Jason Burwen from the U.S. Energy Storage Association mentioned that as states move closer to decarbonizing goals, energy storage will be key to helping industries such as transportation  decarbonize and policy will have an important role to play in helping stakeholders remain highly coordinated.

Energy storage has provided tremendous value in increasing the adoption of clean energy. In the coming years, it will be interesting to see how new policies and innovation drive the energy storage industry, particularly  as states and regions get closer to net-zero carbon goals. To learn more, watch a recording of the event, and view slides from the event.

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Meggie Quackenbush

Meggie Quackenbush is NECEC's Senior Communications Manager.