ORIGINAL REPORTING: New Hampshire’s push to the verge of battery energy storage history
Is New Hampshire on the verge of battery energy storage history? The only question left to be settled is a big one: Should utilities own behind-the-meter batteries?
Herman K. Trabish, June 19, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: It took months of negotiations but a pilot was finally approved that offers a role for the utility and a role for the private sector. It will likely be a template for bigger states and bigger battery builds across the country.
New Hampshire will soon roll out one of the most ambitious U.S. tests yet of utility-owned, customer-sited battery energy storage systems after regulators and stakeholders in the DE 17-189 proceeding are settled a question of vital interest to the rest of the 3,000-plus U.S. utilities: Should a utility own customer-sited storage or is it a distributed energy resource (DER) that should be left to private sector providers? Utilities have already seen the benefits that large-scale battery energy storage offers in shaving peak demand, providing grid services, and making systems more flexible. There is a clear opportunity to use customer-sited battery storage in the same way. But the question of how far utilities can intrude into markets so far served by private sector vendors must first be answered.
The only major U.S. utility-owned, behind-the-meter (BTM) battery storage is the Green Mountain Power (GMP) pilot projects involving behind-the-meter Tesla Powerwalls that will provide dispatchable energy and other grid services to New England’s wholesale electricity markets. New Hampshire's Liberty Utilities will now also implement a two-phase pilot project that could eventually be 1,000 utility-owned Tesla Powerwalls. Private sector DER providers Sunrun and ReVision Energy and the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) Staff argued the pilot should not be approved without providing an opportunity for the private sector. The final settlement will include two phases, giving the utility an initial opportunity and bringing the private providers in after groundwork has been laid… click here for more
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