Energy Committee approves energy storage bill

The Energy and Utilities Committee heard and approved a bill this week that takes a good first step toward deployment of energy storage in Minnesota.

Similar to legislation that was considered last year that had held bipartisan support, the bill allows public utilities to recover costs of implementing energy storage system pilot projects, and requires them to include in their resource planning an assessment of how the deployment of energy storage systems contributes to meeting their needs. The bill calls for $150,000 from the renewable development account for an energy storage systems cost-benefit analysis.

The pilot projects will provide valuable information that can be used when planning future storage projects while the integrated resource planning portion of the bill will help to ensure that storage is considered along with other forms of generation and capacity. The cost-benefit study will be useful in analyzing how energy storage should be added to the overall energy mix.

Energy advocates argue that energy storage is critical in helping to modernize Minnesota’s electric grid while increasing the state’s attractiveness as a leader in energy storage development. The bill will be considered next by the Energy Finance Committee. (S.F. 100)