Albany energizes ‘solar-plus-storage’ across LI

In store: Albany is incentivizing residential and commercial customers who install new energy-storage systems, key to mainstreaming clean-gen technologies.

State officials are once again supercharging residential and commercial clean-generation energy technologies on Long Island.

With Albany having already set parameters for energy-storage technologies and committed $400 million to advancing said tech  Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week that an additional $55 million will be made available over the next five years for cutting-edge energy-storage efforts specifically on Long Island, with the first $15 million available now.

The funding – essentially, a collaboration between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and PSEG-LI – is meant to promote the deployment of “solar-plus-storage” technologies while also supporting Cuomo’s Green New Deal, self-billed as a “nation-leading clean-energy jobs agenda” that “puts New York on a path to carbon neutrality.”

The governor’s comprehensive energy plan has several goals, including statewide storage of 3,000 megawatts by 2030. Energy storage is key to making solar, wind and other clean-gen energy technologies viable as primary energy producers.

Three-thousand megawatts is enough to power 40 percent of statewide residences, according to the governor’s office, making solar-plus-storage tech a lynchpin of Cuomo’s ambitious energy plans – and a big part of his “aggressive strategy to combat climate change,” the governor said this week.

Andrew Cuomo: Watts happening.

“New York continues to set the example of climate leadership for other states across the country,” Cuomo added. “These incentives for energy storage will help Long Islanders grow their clean-energy economy and create jobs while also improving the resiliency of their grid in the face of more frequent extreme weather events.”

The first $15 million tranche is available immediately to residential and commercial customers who install standalone energy-storage systems or systems paired with solar-generation technologies.

For commercial customers, the funds will support new grid-connected energy-storage systems holding up to 5 megawatts of alternating-current connection. Eligible energy-storage systems include chemical, thermal or mechanical systems, to be compensated under a PSEG-LI tariff or load-relief program.

A residential solar-plus-energy storage program will provide new Long Island projects with an “upfront storage incentive” through NYSERDA’s NY-Sun Program, according to the governor’s office, with additional compensation through PSEG-LI’s Dynamic Load Management tariff, which pays customers to reduce the amount of electricity they pull from the regional grid during peak-demand hours.

The remaining energy-storage incentives committed to Long Island, totaling roughly $40 million, will be allocated within the next three to five years and “targeted in a manner to drive down costs and scale up the market for these clean-energy technologies,” according to the governor’s office.

Alicia Barton: Island reinforcements.

NYSERDA President and CEO Alicia Barton said the push for state-of-the-art storage technologies will become paramount as “more renewable sources are brought online throughout the state.”

“Energy storage will improve the efficiency of the grid to better integrate resources like solar while providing residents and businesses with a cleaner, more reliable energy system,” Barton said in a statement, adding the $55 million commitment “reinforces Long Island’s position as one of the leading clean-energy markets in New York.”

The Island is already home to 14,000 solar projects (including residential installations) that collectively generate more than 111 megawatts of electricity – what the governor’s office called “a mature solar market that has led the way … in generating a self-sustaining model for residential solar.”

Incentivizing new residential and commercial storage projects is an important next step, agreed Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-East Setauket), chairman of the State Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee.

“This will help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, stabilize energy bills for ratepayers and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions,” Englebright added. “I look forward to more proposals that will ensure New York State takes the lead in addressing climate change.”