Chicago, IL-(Effingham Radio)- The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) held a policy session Wednesday to examine the future of energy storage and its relationship to the electric grid in Illinois. Acting Commissioner Anastasia Palivos and Staff hosted the session, inviting numerous expert panelists to weigh-in during the three-hour session. Each provided varying analyses of the landscape and challenges of energy storage in Illinois.
“If distributed energy resources have a chance at someday replacing fossil fuels, they will most likely be consistent and distributed evenly across our electric grid,” said Acting Commissioner Anastasia Palivos in her opening remarks. “An increase in energy storage could not only make the grid more resilient, it could also have a positive economic impact by lowering the cost of electricity.”
Panel one entitled “An Overview of Energy Storage” covered the history, technology and current landscape. George Crabtree, Director of Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne National Laboratory, kicked-off the first panel discussion by pointing out that, on average, electricity generators maintain 40 percent more infrastructure than necessary to ensure adequate and reliable energy. He
outlined the numerous ways energy storage could be installed on the grid and add value to existing infrastructure.
Nitzan Goldberger, State Policy Director for Energy Storage Association wrapped up Panel one by reviewing three major barriers for energy storage: value, competition, and access. “As the Massachusetts
State of Charge report demonstrates, the electricity market currently has the least amount of storage capacity of any U.S. commodity market,” Goldberger said. “Food, water, gasoline and oil commodity
markets all maintain storage capacity that covers around 10% of the daily consumption, thereby reducing vulnerability to supply shocks, reduced productivity, and wasteful infrastructure – something
we need to emulate with storage in the electricity markets to ensure we can meet peak demand.”
Panel two, “Real World Applications & Energy Provider Perspectives,” examined specifically how and where energy storage can create value in Illinois. Ben Kaun, Program Manager, Energy Storage &
Distributed Generation at EPRI, focused on the current status of energy storage, drivers, research priorities, and publicly-available resources for accessing energy storage value; Matt Stedl, Development Director of Energy Storage at Tradewind Energy, Inc., detailed the value of Front-of-TheMeter (FTM) energy storage opportunities, while Scott Vogt, VP of Energy Acquisition for ComEd, provided the framework of storage application and challenges. Regina McCormack, Government & Regulatory Affairs for Invenergy, further probed the applications of frequency regulation, T&D deferral
and microgrids. She also offered suggestions on how changes in regulation may assist in these applications.
Panel three, “A Vision of the future,” considered current and future laws, policies and regulatory framework. Sam Gomberg, Senior Energy Analyst with Union of Concerned Scientists examined the methods being used to address storage integration in more than 20 states that are moving forward on battery storage, and made recommendations on how to advance deployment in Illinois. Further outlining existing and potential legal and regulatory framework in Illinois was Elizabeth McErlean, an Energy Attorney at McGuireWoods, LLP. Scott Baker, Sr. Business Solutions Analyst with PJM discussed the electric storage resources available in the PJM markets since the passing of FERC Order 841, while Dan Berwick, the General Manager of Energy Storage at Borrego Solar compared solar development in several states with energy storage development, outlining varying policy and incentive considerations.
Each panel was followed by a Q&A session.
“It was lively and engaging, full of thoughtful analysis and valuable perspectives on the changes coming to the grid,” said Crabtree. “It was wonderful that the Commission brought so many interested parties together for formal panels and informal discussion.”