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Michigan Establishes Energy Storage Standard, First in Midwest

Once the legislative package gets signed into law, the state will have plans for at least 2,500 megawatts of energy storage and all state-regulated utilities will need to submit storage plans to the Public Service Commission by 2030.

Michigan will join the ranks of U.S. states with required energy storage goals when this year’s clean energy legislation is expectedly signed into law.

Among the various clean energy benchmarks state lawmakers set in the bill package was for at least 2,500 megawatts of energy storage plans to be on the books before 2030 arrives. All state-regulated utilities must submit energy storage plans by then to the Michigan Public Services Commission (MPSC) for its share of the statewide goal.

Michigan will become the first state in the Midwest to establish an energy storage standard. Ten states already set power storage goals but only New York and New Jersey set more ambitious benchmarks than Michigan’s new target.

Also included in the legislation was a requirement for state utility regulators to within a year complete a study on both long-term and multiday energy storage systems and how those technologies can benefit Michigan’s power grid.

Dan Scripps, MPSC chairperson, said battery storage is expected to be an integral part of the state’s renewable energy transition. He said power storage systems can help address intermittency issues with renewables such as solar or wind, as well as grid reliability problems.

The MPSC will consider energy storage plans from utilities as part of the existing integrated resource planning process. Those are state-required long-range plans about where the companies intend to get their power generation to deliver to their customers.

Scripps said it’s important to be able to add these clean energy and battery requirements into that planning process to figure out how to pull all the various energy resources together to maximize reliability and affordability for Michiganders.

“I think it’s one of the real highlights of the legislation,” he said.

Yet the storage element Scripps said is most exciting is the prospect of studying and incorporating new technologies around 100-hour battery life storage systems. Those could prove essential during lengthy power outages.

“Those could really help to fill in sort of the big grid emergencies that we’ve seen in the winter months in places like Texas two years ago, and over the holidays last year,” Scripps said.

The 2030 energy storage goal of 2,500 megawatts in the clean energy legislation falls in line with the state’s climate action plan finalized last year. However, the MI Healthy Climate Plan also calls for a 4,000-megawatt storage requirement by 2040.

Climate action advocates contend Michigan’s new energy storage goal is a step in the right direction. Trade organizations suggest Michigan’s energy storage plan can even serve as a model for the nation.

One independent researcher said battery storage is a way to address the conundrum of peak electricity demand times not syncing with renewable energy generation times.

“If you’re not generating that energy when the people want to consume the electricity in their homes, be that for heat or cooking dinner or running their computers, then mostly it’s not that useful,” said Joshua Rhodes, electricity systems expert and research scientist at University of Texas at Austin.

“And so, battery storage is a great way of getting that energy or producing that energy when it’s cheap to produce and storing it for later for when people want to actually consume it.”

The researcher said having a mandate for so many megawatts stored on the system will allow technologies to develop, which should ultimately make it cheaper and easier to incorporate into the power grid.

Michigan’s new energy storage goal was included in Senate Bill 271, which both the Senate and House approved in recent weeks. That piece of legislation and others in the clean energy bill package still await Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature.

Renewable energy generation does not generate greenhouse gas emissions that warm global temperatures and accelerate the climate crisis.

©2023 Advance Local Media LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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