New York City to remove barriers to energy storage


City agencies and officials have released comprehensive guidelines regarding the installation of lithium-ion battery technologies. The guidelines aim to remove stringent barriers to energy storage installations while working to meet the storage target of 100 MWh by 2020.

The guidelines were the result of a collaboration between the City University of New York (CUNY) Smart Distributed Generation Hub, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), Consolidated Edison and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

“Not only will the guidelines bring in more developers, I think we’ll see more movement in pending projects,” says Tria Case, director of sustainability and energy conservation at CUNY.

New York City’s tough rules regarding energy storage projects meant only 4.8 MWh of storage had been installed in the city at the beginning of 2018.

The CUNY guide helps people understand the permitting processes associated with the different types of storage projects, decreasing the associated costs and time taken to apply.

“The goal is to help storage move to scale” by developing a process that provides more of a template-approach to project permitting, CUNY’s Case said.

The guidelines list three project classes, namely; 20 kWh and lower, up to 250 kWh and larger than 250 KWh, as well as the relevant flow charts of agencies and required approvals.

For the two smaller classes of projects, the process can largely be completed through the submission of paperwork. The largest class of projects would still need to be approved by site visits by the FDNY.

According to Case, not all aspects have been finalized however, it’s an important first step. “What is now transparent is the actual process, who you have to call, what forms need to be filled out. It is a first step,” she said.

The guidelines are or outdoor energy storage projects only, including rooftop projects.

Read more about the guideline details here.