- Connecticut announced Wednesday that it will offer incentives for residential and business customers to purchase and install energy storage systems as part of an Equitable Modern Grid initiative.
- As part of the initiative, the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) established a nine-year Electric Storage Program with a goal of deploying 1,000 MW of energy storage statewide by the end of 2030. That goal was codified by legislation passed this summer, which mandates PURA and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) take steps to encourage storage installations.
- PURA outlined proposals by the Connecticut Green Bank to offer incentives for up to a total 50 MW of residential storage, with incentives depending on system size and whether customers have a low-to-moderate income status, with a maximum project incentive of $7,500. The Green Bank also proposed incentives ranging from $225 to $280 per kWh for up to 50 MW of energy storage from commercial and industrial structures through 2024.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, D, has set a goal for the state to achieve 100% zero-carbon energy by 2040. DEEP laid out a draft plan this year to meet the goal, which it said would require demand response and storage incentives to address the intermittency of wind and solar production.
Josh Ryor, PURA director of utility programs and initiatives, said the storage legislation "signaled Connecticut's intention to be a leader in storage." The incentive program, he added, "signals that Connecticut is a place to invest in storage" and sets the state up to "take advantage of the opportunities coming with renewable energy."
The program will be administered starting in 2022 by the Connecticut Green Bank, along with electricity providers Eversource and United Illuminating. The state's goals are designed with an equal split between residential and commercial deployment, with interim goals of 100 MW by the end of 2024 and another 200 MW by the end of 2028. Under the storage legislation, PURA is directed to deploy 580 MW with DEEP responsible for the remaining 420 MW, including through direct procurement.
There are also additional incentives for low-income customers, people in underserved communities and customers who are most at risk from storm-related outages. Commenters proposed the upfront incentive be doubled for low-income and environmental justice communities; a final decision on the incentive adder will be set by October. The Green Bank will also coordinate outreach and education efforts for underserved communities, building on solar energy outreach to low-income customers, with a goal of having 40% of storage deployments reach environmental justice communities.
"PURA's decision today within the Equitable Modern Grid proceeding establishes a behind the meter residential, commercial, and industrial battery storage incentive program that will make Connecticut more resilient to the impacts of climate change, especially those in vulnerable communities," said Sergio Carrillo, director of incentive programs for the Connecticut Green Bank.
The equity incentives were first added to the decision-making process in summer 2020 after Tropical Storm Isaias left more than 800,000 utility customers without power, some for more than a week. The effects especially hit economically underserved communities, nursing homes and other facilities considered "critical" by the state, underscoring the importance of grid resilience.
Ryor said the biggest challenge for the state will be adapting to the rapidly evolving storage marketplace defined by changing products and regulations. "The most important thing for us was designing a program with a flexible system that will allow us to constantly review and scale up our targets and our outreach to [low- and middle-income] communities," Ryor said.
When the storage goal was signed into law, Connecticut became the eighth state to set such a target, joining New York, New Jersey, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Oregon and Virginia. In June, Maine became the ninth state when Gov. Janet Mills, D, signed a bill establishing a goal of 300 MW of energy storage by the end of 2025 and 400 MW by the end of 2030.