New York Gov. Cuomo Signs Energy Storage Bill

Better late than never! Last week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y., signed legislation requiring the establishment of a statewide energy storage mandate. The governor’s signature came several months after the state legislature unanimously passed the bill, and even though Cuomo had raised some concerns, he struck a deal with lawmakers to address the remaining issues in the future.

According to the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST), the bill provides a framework for the New York Public Service Commission to establish a goal for the amount of energy storage to be deployed in New York through 2030 and to create policy and regulatory mechanisms that will enable the state utilities to meet the goal.

“NY-BEST and our members in the energy storage industry applaud Governor Cuomo’s decision to approve the energy storage deployment legislation,” said Dr. William Acker, executive director of NY-BEST, in a press release. “Energy storage has an important role to play in modernizing New York’s electric grid, providing real benefits for ratepayers and producing environmental and economic benefits for the state. This legislation ensures that action will be taken in 2018 to help accelerate deployment of energy storage resources on the state’s electric grid and help achieve the state’s clean energy goals.”

In his approval memorandum, Cuomo noted, “I am fully committed to putting New York at the forefront of energy storage deployment. As drafted, however, this legislation contains provisions that are potentially inconsistent with the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy. It also creates financial burdens that should be addressed through annual budget negotiations.”

Nonetheless, Cuomo continued, “The Executive has secured an agreement with the legislature to pass legislation in the upcoming session to address these concerns. In addition to establishing a sound foundation for the advancement of energy storage, the agreed-upon changes will also complement the state’s efforts to ensure that New York remains at the forefront of energy-efficient initiatives. On that basis, I am signing this bill.”

Acker said, “NY-BEST is confident the amendments discussed in the governor’s approval memorandum will continue to ensure a path forward for the advancement of energy storage in New York State.”

In a statement, Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the Energy Storage Association, declared, “It’s a great day for energy storage in New York. We applaud Governor Cuomo, Assemblywoman Paulin, and Senator Griffo for their leadership on energy storage and their historic decision to pass and enact Assembly Bill 6571.”

“By signing the bill into law, the governor joined the unanimous opinion of the legislature that a long-term commitment to deploy energy storage is critical to a more reliable and resilient, affordable, and sustainable electric system for New Yorkers,” said Speakes-Backman. “That long-term commitment, moreover, sends a strong signal to the rapidly growing U.S. energy storage industry to invest and hire New York. Energy Storage Association members look forward to working with the Public Service Commission to determine an appropriate target for energy storage deployment in New York by 2030, as well as supporting [the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)] and [Long Island Power Authority] in administering innovative programs to meet that target.”

According to NY-BEST, the new legislation aligns with New York’s 50% by 2030 clean energy standard. Energy storage provides flexible, reliable power that produces no greenhouse gas or harmful air emissions. Pairing storage with renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, allows the energy that is generated when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing to be stored for use at a later time. In this way, storage helps balance supply and demand, reduces pressure on the electric grid at peak demand times, and makes the electric grid system more flexible, efficient and resilient, according to NY-BEST. Energy storage also has the ability to rapidly respond to fluctuating demands for electricity, helping to stabilize the grid and ensure system reliability.

Notably, a recent report by the NYSERDA found that the number of jobs in New York’s energy storage industry grew by 1,000 between 2012 and 2015, a 30% increase. The report also noted that job growth in New York could grow to nearly 27,000 jobs by 2030, assuming favorable policy and regulatory programs are in place.

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