US states reluctant to include energy storage in Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS)
California Governor Jerry Brown has spurred many of the initiatives that has fired California into a leading position among US states for energy storage deployment. Image: Flickr User: Neon Tommy.
While it may seem like an obvious choice for US states to include energy storage into their Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) commitments, in reality, standalone targets and mandates for energy storage procurement have been preferred.
In a recent feature article for PV Tech Power, Todd Olinsky-Paul of the Clean Energy States Alliance discusses the role state-level legislators and politicians have to play in accelerating development of a market for energy storage.
Looking at factors such as utility procurement, grant programmes, possible incentive schemes and other initiatives, Olinsky-Paul looks at leaders such as California, which has had a 1.325GW utility energy storage procurement mandate (with an additional 500MW added last year) created in 2013.
In analysing the success of the mandate so far, Olinsky-Paul says that, among other things, California benefited from “co-ordination between state policymakers and regulators, and the single-state California Independent System Operator (CAISO, which operates the local transmission grid)” in establishing such an ambitious programme. Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Nevada are also all held up as examples of policy-driven or policy-assisted early markets for energy storage.
“It may seem that an RPS would be the logical vehicle through which states could require utilities to procure storage,” Olinsky-Paul wrote.
“However, it is notable that only four states have an RPS that allows battery storage as an eligible resource; there are no existing RPSs with carve-outs or requirements for energy storage; and none of the recently announced state procurement targets are being developed within an existing state RPS”.