I recently had the opportunity to attend an excellent presentation by Houtan Moveni from New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (“NYSERDA”), which was hosted by the Orange County Planning Department. Mr. Moveni discussed the action by the New York State Public Service Commission to adopt Governor Cuomo’s 1500 megawatt (MW) energy storage target by 2025 and 3000 MW target by 2030.
Energy storage systems are essentially large battery systems that store electricity from many different sources. They are most beneficial when used in conjunction with clean intermittent renewable energy power sources, such as wind and solar. These batteries will allow energy generated from renewable and other sources during peak times of sun and wind generation to be stored and more evenly distributed during evening hours and times of minimal generation, i.e., when the sun may not be shining or the wind may not be blowing.
The development and installation of battery energy systems throughout New York State will result in an energy grid which is smarter and more decentralized providing for a more intelligent electric distribution grid.
On the whole, battery energy storage systems are a fairly benign land use that do not take up large areas of land. They can be developed in conjunction with renewable energy facilities such as solar farms and wind generation facilities or as stand-alone uses.
In order to assist municipalities in considering and adopting code provisions to appropriately regulate the development of energy storage systems, NYSERDA has developed a guidebook which includes model laws for each individual municipality to consider in siting and regulating these uses. This guidebook can be found on NYSERDA’s website at https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Clean-Energy-Siting/Battery-Energy-Storage-Guidebook.
The model law is designed to give municipalities the framework to regulate the development of energy storage systems. However, each municipality should consult with its attorney, code enforcement officers, fire departments and municipal boards to tailor the law to fit the particular needs of the community. I would also recommend each municipality contact NYSERDA, which is a great resource to assist you and potential local power suppliers to make sure you allow and encourage these facilities in the areas of your municipality to maximize their utilization and operation in a safe and efficient manner. Battery energy storage systems will be an effective and useful tool as we all work together to promote clean energy and battle the effects of climate change.