Rhode Island passes energy storage act

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Rhode Island has passed the Energy Storage Systems Act, creating energy storage procurement goals and requiring electric utilities to create a tariff to value the services provided by energy storage.

Signed by Governor McKee, the act sets goals of 90 MW of energy storage installed by Dec. 31, 2026; 195 MW by the end of 2028; and 600 MW by the end of 2033. Rhode Island becomes the 11th state to set a policy target for energy storage development.

The Act describes an energy storage system connected to the electric power system as potentially being able to “alleviate time and location-based constraints on the distribution and bulk power systems, including physical, economic, and environmental constraints, and result in lower costs to the general body of ratepayers if located in the right place and operated at the right time.” 

The act creates a requirement that electric utilities serving at least 100,000 customers must create an interconnection tariff, placing a market value on energy storage that recognizes the flexibility and dispatchability of storage.

The Act states that to secure a long-term, stable, and affordable supply of energy storage, “it is essential that Rhode Island begin procuring and deploying energy storage systems as an alternative to costly and redundant utility distribution infrastructure”.

The state’s public utility commission will be required to begin developing the tariff framework by September. The process will include stakeholder engagement. A model tariff framework must be submitted by May 1, 2025.

The Act requires that when evaluating the value of storage, the commission must consider time and location-based constraints on the distribution and bulk power systems, including physical, economic and environmental constraints that increase costs to the general body of ratepayers.

If energy storage is found to meet distribution system or bulk power system needs, or provide net value to the body of ratepayers, utilities will be ordered to procure energy storage via a competitive solicitation process.

The act also directs the Rhode Island infrastructure bank to develop programs to distribute funds to meet the energy storage systems capacity goals. The Infrastructure Bank program will provide for grants, no-interest loans, and low-interest loans to support the co-location of energy storage systems with distributed energy resources or energy storage systems that would allow for the interconnection of distributed energy resources without distribution system upgrade costs. These funds will be made available to local distribution companies that serve less than one hundred thousand customers.

“Moving to renewable electricity means we are going to need the structures — both physical and regulatory — to store energy. This bill sets concrete goals and action plans to build a resilient grid that can accommodate the green energy transition that is happening now,” said Rhode Island Senator Dawn Euer.

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