By Michael Kuser
MARLBOUROUGH, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday announced nearly $20 million in grants for 26 energy storage projects.
“The opportunity for people to store energy when prices are low and to access that storage when prices are high could have huge positive benefit to everybody,” Baker said. “There are times within the past few years when we have been paying the highest price in the world for our energy — up to $100/kWh.”
Baker spoke at University of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital, which received a $686,000 grant to integrate a 400-kW solar canopy and a 300-kW/800-kWh flow battery with combined heat and power. The project will not only reduce energy use and costs, but also help the hospital better handle unexpected power outages.
The awards ranged from $221,000 for a project at the West Boylston Municipal Light Plant, to $1.25 million awarded to each of four projects proposed by EnerNOC, Tesla, Constellation Energy Group and the Taunton Municipal Light Plant.
The program received nearly 70 strong proposals, which prompted the state to double the funding from a planned $10 million to $20 million, Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson said. The projects would also draw an additional $32 million in matching funds pledged by developers or by host municipalities, she said.
The state awarded the grants as part of its Energy Storage Initiative and Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage program, funded by the DOER through alternative compliance payments and administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
Baker could have declared it energy storage week in the state as ISO-NE hosted a storage panel in Boston later in the day, following a Northeast Energy and Commerce Association storage seminar on Tuesday. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will hold a clean energy and storage event in Cambridge on Friday. (See ISO-NE Preparing for Energy Storage Growth.)
Judson also appeared on the ISO-NE storage panel, as did Christopher Parent, the RTO’s director of market development. As of Dec. 1, Parent said, ISO-NE has 400 MW of energy storage in the interconnection queue, equal to about 3% of all generation applying to interconnect.
Massachusetts also has a goal to have 300,000 electric vehicles registered in the state by 2025. The state’s $2,500 rebates are helping drive EV sales, illustrated by the 282 rebates issued in November, up from 153 a year earlier. (See Mass. Prepares for EV Growth, Alternative Energy Standard.)