Reviewing energy storage targets as Maine becomes the ninth state to participate


Maine has joined the trend of adding state energy storage targets, becoming the ninth state to do so. Signed by Governor Janet Mills, the target sets out a plan for 300 MW capacity by the end of 2025, 400 MW through 2030. After that, the Governor’s Energy Office will reevaluate every two years for new storage goals. 

The state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) also plans to configure new electricity rate designs to encourage energy storage growth by the end of 2022. Such structures will include time-of-use rates and incentives to lower peak demand for power. 

The bill outlines four actions that will be taken to achieve this goal: 

  1. The expansion of energy storage pilot projects, implementing cost effective projects as statewide programs.  
  2. The creation of bring-your-own-device programs in which customer owned and customer sited storage can be aggregated, and performance incentives are provided for reducing peak loads.  
  3. The deployment of rebate or funding programs for energy storage paired with renewable energy for residential, commercial, and industrial electricity customers. 
  4. Leading customer education series on demand management and storage, particularly targeting low-income and rural populations in the state. 

The state has begun work towards the achieving the goal, enacting a program that will deploy 15 MW of storage in critical care facilities. 

Energy storage market assessment studies will be conducted by the Energy Office of the governor with a report due March next year. 

The state joins Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Nevada and Oregon in creating energy storage targets as part of their decarbonization plans.

A wide range of strategies have been enacted. Maine’s policy sits between New York, who has legally mandated the deployment of storage, and New Jersey, who’s lofty 2 GW storage target has been viewed as aspirational and unproductive, lacking robust integrated incentives and rate structures.

Here’s a look into the targets set by the other eight states:


Connecticut was the second most recent state to enact an energy storage target, setting its sights on 300MW by year’s end 2024, 1 GW by 2030. The act seeks to provide net positive present value to ratepayers, provide resiliency and demand-response benefits, support the state-based energy storage industry, and maximize value through the participation in capacity markets.

The state will consider both behind-the-meter and front-of-meter applications, and is due to report the status of program developments related to the targets by the end of 2021. It will support programs and rate designs that avoid or defer investment in traditional electric distribution capacity upgrades, placing priority on the use of battery storage. 


Launched in 2015 by Governor Baker’s administration, the Massachusetts Energy Storage Initiative targets 1,000 MWh of storage capability by 2025. As of February 15, electric distribution companies have reported 179 MWh of storage with an additional 874 MWh in the pipeline. One reason such a large backlog sits in the pipeline is due to transmission cost-sharing issues in the Bay State.

In May, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources held a stakeholder event discussing the potential of including energy storage technologies in the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (APS), and the addition of potential energy storage incentives. The event resulted in the creation of a Clean Peak Energy Standard, but storage was rejected from being included in the APS.

The state also released a study that reviews the cost benefits of storage associated with reduced peak demand, deferred transmission, distribution, and capacity investments, reduced emissions, reduced cost of renewables integration, and increased grid flexibility, reliability and resiliency. The study identified use cases for storage, highlighted barriers to battery adoption, and recommended policies and programs for proper storage valuation. Near and long term workforce benefits to Massachusetts were evaluated as well.

New York

In 2018, Governor Cuomo announced a legal mandate of 1.5 GW by 2025, and 3 GW by 2030.

The target focuses on stimulating third-party investment, uncovering and rewarding locational and time-of-use values, and removing impediments to accessing finance and data that highlight areas of the grid with the greatest need for the benefits of storage.

The act authorized $350 million in bridge incentives, including funding for solar-plus-storage projects within the NY Sun initiative, plus another $53 million to support the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The state directed New York’s six utilities to hold competitive procurements for a minimum of 350 MW of bulk-sited energy storage. Recommendations to improve wholesale market design and improve distributed energy resources are a key part of New York’s plan, as well.

The evaluation of training needs and training inventory, and investments in workforce development will aid New York’s storage deployment goals.

New Jersey

New Jersey has targeted 2 GW of deployment by 2030, signed into law by Governor Murphy in 2018. It set a goal of 600 MW by 2021, but largely has not seen a lot of progress towards that number.

One hurdle has been a state analysis by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) that found few economic uses for storage in the near term. A report by Rutgers University analyzed the value of storage, but declined to endorse policy intervention, citing the lack of a strong financial case.

The state has release an Energy Master Plan but it only mentioned that the BPU is “preparing to establish a process and mechanisms to achieve the state’s energy storage goals.” Without clear market-based solutions or significant investments, New Jersey will struggle to hit its 2 GW goal.


Often a pioneer in alternative energy technologies, California authorized the state’s Public Utility Council (CPUC) to evaluate and determine energy storage targets in 2010. The CPUC issued a decision in 2013 to mandate a procurement target of 1,325 MW by 2020, and set three primary goals: one, grid optimization for peak reduction and reliability support, and the deferral of transmission and distribution upgrade investments; two, the integration of renewable energy: and three, the reduction of greenhouse gas emission.

California leads the nation in pumped-hydro storage plants.

Data: EIA

The California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) commissioned consultancy group Strategen to forecast storage needs. They determined that meeting an interim goal of 60% renewable penetration by 2030 will itself spur a requirement of between 2 GW and 11 GW of long-duration energy storage. If California is to achieve its target of being net-zero with carbon emissions by 2045, the state will need to deploy between 45 GW to 55 GW of long-duration storage.


In 2020, Virginia changed state laws to allow renewables to be developed more swiftly through a permit by rule (PBR) program for projects under 150 MW. This year, the PBR was extended to energy storage projects. This is in pursuit of Virginia’s mandate of 3.1 GW of energy storage by 2035.

The Virginia Clean Energy Association (VCEA) set some guidelines for this program. At least ten percent of storage must be behind-the-meter. 35% of storage must be procured from non-utility third parties, and projects must not exceed 500 MW in a single project to count towards the mandate, save one 800 MW pumped hydro project. These restrictions help ensure a dispersed and diverse set of installations to better meet demand-response and transmission-congestion related issues.

The VCEA listed several use cases for storage including commercial customer bill management, co-location with renewables, peaker plant alternatives, microgrids for resiliency, and merchant wholesale services. The state will utilize the Commonwealth Opportunity Fund and the Virginia Talent Accelerator program to provide “deal-closing” funds and occupational training in support of energy storage development.


Nevada aims for 1 GW of storage by 2030, as adopted by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Nevada. Described as “goals, not mandates”, the regulations set forth sets targets for utilities with gross annual operating revenues of $250 million or more in the state, and requires energy storage as part of their integrated resource plans.

The PUC was given authority to “waive or defer compliance under certain circumstances” and can also change the targets at will.

The plan sets biennial targets of a compounding 200 MW at each point of review. It calls for setting forth points of interconnection for the implementation of storage systems.

Several facets of this goal were listed in the plan, including the integration of renewable energy, grid reliability improvement, peak demand response, grid investment deferral, the replacement of ancillary services by fossil fuel plants, and the reduction of greenhouse gases. However, the state’s plan lacks program deployment and funding as demonstrated by some of its peers.


Oregon was another early adopter of energy storage targets, setting an initial goal of 5 MWh by the end of 2019. It was supported by $2 million individual rebates for consumers of $2,500 for battery deployment, and up to $15,000 for low-income service provider supplying batteries.

The state has a renewables portfolio standard of 50% by 2040, lagging some of the other states mentioned here. A renewal of an energy storage target has not yet been set.

Other states to follow?

In 2018, Arizona proposed a 3 GW by 2050 target, but it was not enacted. The Arizona Corporation Commission has long presided over battles between alternative energy advocates and the grid operators in the state. It is unclear if a new plan will be enacted. However, with a growing set of use cases and data supporting the benefits of storage, it is likely Arizona and other states across the union will take notice of which state plans nurtured growth and resiliency.

Guidance from the Energy Storage Association

The most recent bills, namely from Maine and Connecticut, draw directly from the state-level energy storage target design framework built by the Energy Storage Association (ESA) this year. The framework establishes three major principles:

First, states should use targets to support market growth of storage, informing the size, structure, and timeline of storage events. ESA recommended using short-term “learning by doing” targets to jumpstart investment while longer-term goals are evaluated.

“Rule of thumb” metrics are recommended to establish short-term targets (for example, percent of peak demand or percent of renewables.) Longer-term goals should be tied to the associated benefits, such as resilience, peak demand reduction, renewable portfolio standard support, and decarbonization

Second, ESA said storage target metrics, review, and accountability mechanisms should be set in accordance with a state’s overall policy goals. Review structures should be set up to analyze progress toward the target and should strive to be aligned with existing energy planning and procurement processes. 

Third, the framework said storage targets should aim to deploy a diversity of project sizes, types, and business models.

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