Putting Renewables at the System’s Core: The Role of Distributed Energy Storage  

SKy panel

L to R: Bob Fesmire, Sonia Aggarwal, Ron Lehr, James Schetter, Sky Stanfield at Renewable Energy World North America/PowerGenWeek

“It’s a simple fact: the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow constantly. Still, storage has the potential to resolve many challenges associated with integrating large amounts of renewables on the distribution grid,” said Sky Stanfield at PowerGen last week. Stanfield is senior special counsel for Shute, Mihaly, Weinberger, attorneys for IREC.

Joining Stanfield on the panel was Ron Lehr, contributor to America’s Power Plan; Sonia Aggarwal, director of strategy at Energy Innovation, and James Schetter, Renewable Impacts LLC. The session was moderated by Bob Fesmire, strategic communication manager, ABB.

According to Stanfield, complexity lies in identifying all the basic regulatory and market structures needed to make the costs and benefits flow appropriately. “Certain foundational policies will be necessary and should be tackled first,” she said.

Stanfield laid out six of those foundational policies:

  • design rate structures that send appropriate economic signals to distributed energy storage (DES) customers.
  • open markets for ancillary services and demand response.
  • ensure DES systems have a clear path to fair and efficient interconnection.
  • address net energy metering opportunities for storage systems.
  • consider DES solutions in the context of broad distribution planning.
  • ensure sufficient but not duplicative oversight of DES safety.

More about these policies are detailed in Deploying Distributed Energy Storage: Near Term Regulatory Considerations to Maximize Benefits released by IREC earlier this year. Stanfield was the lead author.

“IREC developed this report to help identify key regulatory changes that states may want to consider in the near term in order to facilitate rollout of distributed energy storage in a manner that captures the greatest benefits and promotes a healthy market for storage services,” said Stanfield.

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