A New Frontier: the Interconnection of Energy Storage

In part 8 of our interconnection series in GreenTech Media, Sky Stanfield, partner, Erica McConnell, former special counsel and Joseph Petta, associate with Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger LLP, attorneys for IREC, examine how to clear a path for the deployment of energy storage.

You purchased that spiffy new rooftop solar array and waited patiently in the queue to get interconnected to the grid. Now that you’re generating kilowatt-hours, you’ve decided to invest in a residential energy storage system to maximize your ability to avoid paying for peak-priced power. There’s one hiccup, though: What do your state’s interconnection rules mean for connecting your new battery to the grid?

We’ve now arrived at a cutting-edge topic in interconnection, one that several states have recently addressed or are working on addressing, and which many more will need to address soon.

As the Interstate Renewable Energy Council discussed in our recent report, Charging Ahead: An Energy Storage Guide for State Policymakers, energy storage promises to play a critical role at all levels of the electric system, from traditional utility-scale generation down to residential customer applications. It is also vitally important in accelerating integration of all types of distributed energy resources, or DERs. Energy storage offers a broad suite of electricity services, including deferral of expensive transmission and distribution line upgrades, the regulation of voltage and frequency, and expanding consumers’ ability to control their energy use and costs.

But while energy storage is affected by many of the same interconnection issues we’ve discussed in previous posts, it also raises new issues because of the technology’s unique characteristics — specifically, its ability to act as both energy “generation” (by injecting stored electricity onto the grid) and load (during its charging state), as well as its ability to be controlled so that it operates only when intended.

Read the full article.


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