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Empire State drops $260M on energy storage – sets target of 1500MW new volume installed by 2025

On January 3rd, New York governor Andrew Cuomo delivered a state energy storage target of 1500MW via the private market by 2025 and has put up $260 million in state money to help drive the investment.

In the annual “State of the State” address, varying proposals  – from combating MS-13, to cleaning up the Hudson River, to expanding clean energy jobs – were delivered to start the new year. The energy storage target delivered seems to be an extension or culmination of prior state legislation requiring targets be set.

The 20th proposal of New York’s State of the State address was specifically directed at “clean energy jobs and climate agenda.” Here are the key sub-components of the legislation:

  • Expanding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and reducing emissions from the highest-polluting, high demand “Peaker” power plants
  • Issuing solicitations in 2018 and 2019 to develop 800MW of offshore wind while developing the job ecosystem surrounding the industry
  • A 1500MW energy storage target, a $200 million fund at the state Green Bank to help drive pricing down for energy storage through strategic deployment
  • A “Zero Cost Solar for All” program for 10,000 Low-Income New Yorkers
  • NYSERDA being directed to invest at least $60 million in storage pilots plus other activities that reduce barriers and costs when deploying energy storage – such as developing smarter permitting, customer acquisition, interconnection, and financing processes

Policy & Advocacy Director, Jason Burwen, at the Energy Storage Association broke the news last night via Twitter –

The State of the State address pushed that the energy storage target was an important component of an ongoing $30 billion upgrade of the state’s power grid:

Moreover, as renewable energy sources produce a larger share of New York’s electricity, New York must also address the intermittency of clean resources like wind and solar. Without methods to store the energy and dispatch it when and where it is needed, New York will face challenges integrating and maximizing the benefits of these clean resources.

The program hopes to drive 30,000 employees into the industry. In November 2017, New York State’s private sector job count increased by 26,000, or 0.3%, to 8,098,400.

The press release notes that this is the highest per capita energy storage target in the country, in comparison to much more populated California’s current mandate of 1800MW+ by 2024. Lining up with New York’s statements on methods being needed for storage/dispatch intermittents like California’s recent load shifting program development announcement.

Additionally, in direct opposition to a federal withdraw on environmental responsibility – and in cooperation with the governors of California and Washington state, was an announcement recreating a climate science advisory panel that was recently eliminated by Trump.

Electrek’s Take

The one-upmanship of the environmental regulations between the liberal states, on who can outdo each other is sort of awesome. It’s a race to a better future, and everybody wins.  Not only were the proposals this year record smashing, the same thing happened in the 2017 State of the State, when Governor Cuomo proposed 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind farms to be built by 2030, also the largest proposal in the U.S. to date.

What I’m also noticing – in addition to the big pretty headline numbers being announced – is that different states are looking for these problems to be solved uniquely, but also to complement each other. It is probably a great benefit – and also a great slowdown at times – that we have 50 unique legal laboratories to test these technologies with different political proclivities.

California and New York are very different places, but both of them see this challenge as something important to be surmounted. Their unique resources and perspectives will influence the rest of the country as they solve these problems in both economic and environmental terms.

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