Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) detailed a blueprint for the state to increase its energy storage to 600 MW by 2025. The report represents significant progress in the state’s efforts to taking advantage of energy storage. In May 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration introduced the $10 million Energy Storage Initiative to investigate and report on the benefits of energy storage. Then, this past August, the state passed a bill that could give it an energy storage mandate.
Now, the DOER’s report, entitled State of Charge, shows how Massachusetts is in position to reap the benefits of energy storage. It attributes expensive electricity costs over the past few years to high variable hourly prices. From 2013 to 2015, MA customers spent over $3 billion annually on electricity. A disproportionate amount (40 percent) of that spending occurred in the 10 percent most expensive hours. The study recommends energy storage as a viable solution to this problem. Energy storage can utilize energy generated during cheap, off-peak cost periods to serve load during expensive, high-peak cost periods. The study estimates that an efficient deployment of energy storage could cut state electricity demand by 10 percent and yield $2.3 billion in benefits.
The study also describes the energy storage in relation to renewable energy. With a growing commitment to renewable energy – particularly in wind and solar – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the state needs to keep up with the variable and unpredictable changes in the renewable energy market. Energy storage can provide that security because it can quickly respond to changes in output from renewable energy resources. In other words, it will be cheaper to integrate renewable generation. With some of the highest electricity rates in the country, Massachusetts stands to benefit substantially from additional energy storage, in both peak-hour price reduction and renewable energy.