Oregon passes bill to accelerate energy storage uptake


The Public Utility Commission (PUC) is providing guidelines and timelines for electricity companies to procure and deploy storage systems.

The state created a bill, HB2193, which would authorise utilities to explore the possibilities of deploying energy storage for reasons including deferring spending on transmission infrastructure, back in 2015.

The latest document issued by the PUC gives details on how it sees that electric companies with over 25,000 retail customers could select storage system providers and present project proposals to the commission. Once approved, they have been given until 2020 to procure projects. [Microgrid to “transform” DER and energy storage markets]

Storage systems employed by utilities, for example, Pacificorp, trading as Pacific Power, and Portland General Electric Company (PGE) should have over 5MWh storage capacity each, they would also be capped at 1% of the utility’s peak load in 2014, except, the PUC said, for a project of “statewide significance”. Utilities will be allowed to recover the costs of projects from ratepayers.

Energy storage guidelines

According to Energy Storage News, the PUC document’s guidelines for projects and proposals appear to recognise some of the key elements that would make energy storage projects valuable.

For example, it states that electric companies are “encouraged to submit projects that can serve multiple applications” – in other words enabling the “stacking” of use cases and potentially revenue streams.

The PUC also recognises that energy storage systems could be used to defer much costlier investment in transmission infrastructure such as substations. Other potential uses include making system upgrades, performing ancillary services and other “location-specific” services. The Commission encourages utilities to issue requests for information (ROI) to potential vendors of energy storage systems.  [Utility battery storage capacity to reach 42.7 GWh by 2025]