In tentative decisions issued on April 26, 2023 (here and here), the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) proposes to conclude that it lacks jurisdiction under current laws to review battery energy storage systems (BESS). These decisions were issued in two dockets – Cranberry Point Energy Storage, EFSB 21-02, and Medway Grid, LLC,… More
Category Archives: Energy Storage
Mass. AG: Municipal Prohibition of Stand-alone Battery Storage Systems Violates State Law
The Massachusetts Attorney General recently issued a written opinion denying approval of a zoning bylaw amendment passed by the Town of Wendell, which would have prohibited stand-alone battery energy storage facilities in all the town’s zoning districts. This is a significant development, marking the first time the Attorney General has expressly ruled that municipalities cannot prohibit or unreasonably regulate stand-alone battery storage systems.
New York’s Energy Storage Roadmap Proposes “Index REC” for Storage
On December 28, 2022, staff of the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) released the much-awaited New York’s 6 GW Energy Storage Roadmap: Policy Options for Continued Growth in Energy Storage (Roadmap). This Roadmap builds upon a prior roadmap issued in 2018 and puts forward a comprehensive plan to deploy six gigawatts (GW) of energy storage by 2030 – a goal Governor Kathy Hochul announced in her January 2022 State of the State address,… More
Electric Buses Are On the Move
On October 26, 2022, the Biden-Harris administration announced the award of nearly $1 Billion from EPA’s Clean School Bus program for 389 school districts nationwide, through a program established in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The money will purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric. These awards are the first of the five-year program that will eventually provide $5 billion for the purchase of electric school buses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,… More
Biden Announces New Initiative on “Game-Changing” Technologies for Achieving Net-Zero Emissions
On November 4, 2022, the White House announced a new initiative to support research and development projects on 37 “game-changing” technologies to advance the Biden Administration’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Led by an interagency working group, the “Net-Zero Game Changers Initiative” will direct billions of dollars under the bipartisan infrastructure law, the CHIPS and Science Act,… More
Amendments to Massachusetts’ Clean Energy Standard Finalized, Accelerating Progress Towards Decarbonization of the State’s Electricity Sector
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced that proposed amendments to the state’s Clean Energy Standard (CES) were finalized earlier this month without substantive changes from draft language initially proposed by the agencies in April 2022.
The amendments are intended to accelerate progress towards decarbonization of the electricity sector and further ensure the state meets its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.… More
Biden Administration Announces $3.1 Billion Grant Program for Battery Processing and Manufacturing to Support Clean Energy and Transportation
On May 2, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the release of a funding opportunity announcement (“FOA”) through which DOE may provide $3.1 billion in grant funding to support projects that will accelerate the development of a resilient supply chain for high-capacity batteries. This FOA, the authority for which is provided in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”), is the first release of more than $7 billion included in the IIJA to strengthen the U.S.… More
DPU Orders the Creation of an Energy Storage Interconnection Review Group
Energy storage systems (“ESS”) can help increase grid efficiency, facilitate the operation of increasing amounts of renewable energy, and lower energy costs, among other benefits. As energy storage systems increase in number in Massachusetts, a myriad of questions have emerged regarding their regulation and integration into the electrical grid.
On February 9, 2022, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (“DPU”) released an order under Docket 19-55 with the goal of finding answers to some of these questions.… More
LIPA Issues Much-Awaited Bulk Energy Storage RFP
On April 30, 2021, PSEG Long Island, LLC (PSEG-LI), on behalf of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), issued a much-awaited request for proposals (RFP) seeking 175 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale storage projects that will interconnect to the Long Island electricity grid. This RFP issuance follows a Request for Information nearly a year ago regarding how such a solicitation should be structured. The storage deployment resulting from this RFP will make a significant contribution to New York’s statewide goals
of deploying 3,000 MWs of energy storage by 2030,… More
Major Climate Bill Recommits Massachusetts to Climate Goals
On January 4th, as the legislative session came to a close, both houses of the Massachusetts legislature passed “An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy.” My colleague, Seth Jaffe, posted on the act yesterday, when the details of the bill first came out, focusing on the climate and economic impacts. There is no doubt that this act will significantly shape Massachusetts’s path towards a net-zero future.… More
Massachusetts Implements a Clean Peak Standard
On July 23, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”) filed final regulations implementing a “Clean Peak Energy Standard,” which formally went into effect on August 7, 2020. The final regulations are the latest step towards making reality out of an idea enacted through the 2018 Act to Advance Clean Energy and make Massachusetts the first state to adopt such a program.… More
D.C. Circuit Decision Upholds Access to Wholesale Markets for Energy Storage Resources, but Will More Litigation Follow?
On July 10, 2020, the D.C. Circuit upheld FERC Order 841, the landmark order requiring wholesale markets to allow participation by energy storage resources. Challengers had contended that by prohibiting states from barring energy storage resources on the distribution system from participating in wholesale markets, FERC had exceeded its jurisdiction and infringed on state authority.
The D.C. Circuit rejected those claims. … More
Watch: Emerging Trends Series – New York Energy Storage Markets
Energy storage will play a key role in achieving New York State’s bold climate vision, set in motion in June 2019 with the passage of The Climate Leadership and Clean Energy Protection Act, the nation-leading law which calls for economy-wide emissions reductions to reach net-zero by 2050,100% clean electricity by 2040, and 70% renewable electricity by 2030. The Act also codifies an existing Cuomo Administration commitment to deploy 3,000 MW of energy storage by 2030.… More
More Detail on the Massachusetts DG Interconnection Docket
On Monday, August 19, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (“DPU”) provided additional information on the timing, process, and scope of its investigation into DG interconnection. The full memorandum from the Hearing Officer is here. This procedural update follows the July 18 technical conference, which we summarized here. A few key points from the memorandum:
- Three additional technical conferences have been scheduled in the docket for October 3,…
DPU Technical Conference Addresses Issues Related to DG Interconnection Tariff and National Grid “Cluster Study”
Distributed generation (DG) projects across the Commonwealth have been stalled in the midst of the “Cluster Study” impacting National Grid’s service territory in central and western Massachusetts. National Grid describes the study’s purpose as determining the impacts on the transmission system of interconnecting over 900 MW in DG projects—mostly solar—to its distribution system. National Grid says the study will be completed by March 2020.… More
Massachusetts DPU Opens Docket on DG Interconnection
On May 22, 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (“DPU”) opened a new docket (D.P.U. 19-55) to investigate the interconnection of distributed generation (“DG”) in Massachusetts. (And yes, the DPU intends to include energy storage interconnection in this docket despite defining DG as “technologies that generate electricity”.)
While complaints about costs, delays, and increased volume of interconnection applications have been growing,… More
Sunrun’s Capacity Supply Obligation in ISO-NE Forward Capacity Auction Signals the Beginning of a New Era for the New England Grid
Our client, Sunrun, the nation’s leading home solar, battery storage and energy services company, won an historic bid to deliver home solar and batteries as a capacity resource in ISO-NE’s recent Forward Capacity Auction (“FCA”), for the capacity commitment period June 1, 2022- May 31, 2023. Sunrun’s participation in New England’s capacity market is the first time in the country that home solar and battery storage has directly participated alongside traditional generation resources in a wholesale capacity auction.… More
EFSB Asks for Comments on Energy Storage
On February 7, 2019, the Energy Facilities Siting Board (“EFSB”) issued a notice and request for comments in EFSB 19-01, the docket we previously noted, in which the petitioner seeks a determination that its energy storage system is not within the EFSB’s jurisdiction.
Comments are due by February 20, 2019.
The EFSB identified five topics on which it is “particularly interested in receiving information:”… More
Massachusetts DPU Issues Decisions on Energy Storage and Capacity Rights
On February 1, 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities issued two long-awaited orders in docket D.P.U. 17-146. The orders address a number of issues related to pairing energy storage systems (“ESS”) with net metering facilities and the rights to the capacity associated with net metering and SMART facilities. There are too many issues in these orders to address each fully here, but below are some high-level highlights.… More
Is an Energy Storage System a Generating Facility?
As more energy storage projects are developed in Massachusetts, laws and policies may need to catch up. Energy storage can provide many benefits and play many roles, but it does not always fit neatly into familiar categories, which are sometimes embedded in the background legal landscape. A recent petition at the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (“EFSB”) brings this issue to the fore.
The EFSB has jurisdiction over transmission lines,… More
SMART is Open!
November 26th was a big day for solar energy in Massachusetts. As promised, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”) opened the application portal for the long-anticipated SMART Program. Applications received between November 26th and November 30th will be considered to have been received at the same time. Starting on December 1st, applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served, basis.
Also on November 26th,… More
IRS Issues PLR Approving Battery Storage for 25D Tax Credit When Integrated with Solar
The Internal Revenue Service has released a redacted copy of its private letter ruling 201809003 in which it concluded that a battery energy storage system charged 100% from an onsite solar system is eligible for the individual tax credit under Section 25D.
In the Letter Ruling, the Service reasoned that the “Battery meets the definition of a “qualified solar electric property expenditure” under § 25D(d)(2) of the Code” based on the taxpayer’s representation that “all energy that is used to charge the Battery can be effectively assured to come from the Solar Energy System” to which it would be interconnected.… More