Panel Paper: Synthesizing Diverse Research and Perspectives: Energy Storage in Maryland

Saturday, November 9, 2019
Plaza Building: Lobby Level, Director's Row J (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Rebecca Widiss, Exeter Associates

In 2017, the Maryland General Assembly enacted HB 773, calling for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Power Plant Research Program (PPRP) to conduct a study of regulatory reforms and market incentives that may be “necessary or beneficial” to increase the use of energy storage in the state. Cost-benefit modeling was explicitly excluded from the statement of work for the project, so the focus of the report was on synthesizing existing research with Maryland’s unique regulations, resource mix, and energy goals. Together with PPRP, Exeter conducted 1-on-1 interviews with over 40 organizations, convened a Work Group with a wide range of industry stakeholders, and consulted regularly with the Maryland Public Service Commission, the Office of People’s Counsel, and the Maryland Energy Administration. During this process, Exeter encountered a healthy diversity of opinions ranging from spirited optimism to concern that storage not be pursued “solely for the sake of storage.” The resulting report draws on insights from these conversations, as well as from as from a wide body of literature.

The report found that Maryland has the advantage of not being under pressure to address certain problems that storage can help to mitigate, such as constraints on fossil fuel supplies, frequent curtailment of utility-scale wind and solar plants, or widespread stress on the distribution system caused by load growth. As a result, Maryland could take a more deliberate approach to energy storage, updating rate designs and regulations that may inhibit utilities, third-party project developers, and customers from deploying storage systems or utilizing them fully. Other approaches discussed in the report include distribution system planning and energy storage targets and incentives. Citing this report, in part, the Maryland General Assembly recently passed legislation requiring utilities to design and implement energy storage pilot programs.