New Toolkit Guides Regulators and Utilities in Improving Energy Storage InterconnectionMarch 30, 2022
Energy storage has a unique and pivotal role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy because it can help the electric grid accommodate more renewable energy. However, a number of barriers currently impede the process of connecting energy storage systems to the energy distribution grid. A new suite of actionable recommendations for regulators and utilities, launched in March of 2022 by a team of leading industry players, aims to change that.
The Toolkit and Guidance for the Interconnection of Energy Storage and Solar-Plus-Storage provides vetted solutions for eight regulatory and technical barriers to the interconnection of energy storage systems (ESS) to the distribution grid. These recommendations are based on over a year of research and analysis by utility and industry experts. The Toolkit also includes model language that regulators can use to update state interconnection rules to reduce the costs and time to safely interconnect energy storage and solar-plus-storage systems. The solutions are nationally applicable and are relevant to different states and energy markets across the U.S.
The Toolkit provides regulators with actionable and ready-to-implement guidance. For example, adopting the solutions laid out in the Toolkit can have a significant impact on how many distributed energy resources, such as residential and commercial solar PV systems, can be added to the grid. In some cases, adopting these recommendations can double the capacity of these distributed energy resources. Also, utilities will be able to make the interconnection process faster, more predictable, and less costly for applicants.
The changes detailed in the Toolkit are urgently needed as more and more states target aggressive climate and clean energy goals.
The Toolkit is the result of a multi-year project called “BATRIES” (Building a Technically Reliable Interconnection Evolution for Storage), supported by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. The project team is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and includes the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA), utilities New Hampshire Electric Cooperative Inc. (NHEC) and PacifiCorp, and the law firm Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP (SMW).
The Toolkit can be accessed at https://energystorageinterconnection.org/. Over the coming year, IREC and partners will conduct extensive training and educational outreach to drive adoption of the solutions across the country. Parties interested in receiving training or more information on the Toolkit can contact the partner team via the Toolkit website or sign up for an informational webinar on Tuesday, April 26, 2022 from noon-1pm Eastern Time here.
With extensive experience with interconnection policy and energy storage issues, Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger serves as IREC’s legal counsel in regulatory proceedings across the United States. Known for its commitment to promoting environmental and community values, SMW is at the forefront of clean energy issues facing the United States today. Contact attorney Sky Stanfield or Yochi Zakai for more information on SMW’s renewable energy work.