For the past few years, NCSEA has known that North Carolina needed to establish the regulatory rules of the road for energy storage deployment. In September 2015, NCSEA published a white paper Batteries Not Included which outlined the barriers to energy storage deployment in North Carolina, and it seemed prudent to begin a collaborative dialogue with energy stakeholders in North Carolina and developers throughout the United States on how North Carolina could unlock the market in North Carolina — and by extension the Southeast. In April 2016, NCSEA began its collaborative work on energy storage in tandem with the Energy Storage Association’s annual conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Throughout the working group’s eight meetings over 18 months, much has been accomplished. In particular, the group analyzed:
How storage challenges vary depending on the asset owner and the location of the storage system relative to the point of interconnection (as outlined in the August 2016 Interim Working Group report); and,
Answers to the following three questions for residential, commercial and industrial customers:
- What actions must be taken to justify the value proposition of energy storage to these customers?
- What amount of space and level of active management is necessary for these customers to deploy energy storage?
- What performance criteria are needed to justify an investment in energy storage to these customers?
In addition, the Working Group heard from the authors of the energy storage study completed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, spoke with officials in California to learn how utilities in that state have made their storage mandate part of their program design, and spoke with officials in Oregon to learn how energy storage has been integrated into Oregon’s IRP planning process.
After many months of working group and subcommittee work, the group agreed that North Carolina needed an energy storage study to answer four key questions:
- What is the feasibility of energy storage in North Carolina?
- What can energy storage do that is not being done today?
- What would the economic potential or impact be on North Carolina?
- What policies would be impacted by new energy storage development?
All four broad areas needed addressing in the study:
- Defining Energy Storage
- Opportunities for Energy Storage to Address Grid Operational Issues
- Economic Impact of Energy Storage
- Policy & Statutory Things that Need Changing to Get it Implemented in the Field
NCSEA and our partners worked with the NC General Assembly to include an energy storage study provision in HB 589. NCSEA also collaboratively secured private funding to match the public funding provided by the NC General Assembly (in a 1:1 match) to begin the current energy storage study conducted by the UNC Collaboratory and NC State University.
The year-long report was released by the NC State University Study Team on December 1, 2018. The report highlights the current status of energy storage deployment, storage applications and services, an overview of the modeling approach, and the identification of barriers and policy options.
The study evaluated each of the available technologies based on current data and given the rapid decline in lithium-ion battery costs, the study also included projected costs for that technology in 2030. The NC State team also looked at a range of potential benefits associated with varying degrees of energy storage capacity.
The energy storage policy options presented in the study fall into three broad categories:
- Prepare: these policies aim to help address potential gaps or areas of uncertainty that might otherwise hinder the deployment of cost-effective energy storage.
- Facilitate: these policies are focused on helping either increase the value or decrease the cost of energy storage in the near-term.
- Accelerate: these policies could substantially increase the pace of energy storage deployment in the state.
NCSEA is currently reviewing the report with its business members and partners.
More information about the NC State University study and a summary of all of the stakeholder meetings can be found here.
NCSEA’s Energy Storage Working Group convenes an active dialogue toward the following goals:
- Developing guidance that allows energy storage to be utilized for all of its possible purposes;
- Creating a model for deploying energy storage that can be implemented in similarly situated states; and,
- Determining any outstanding considerations that impact energy storage deployment in North Carolina.