The ICC Explores the Future of Energy Storage

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) held a policy session on June 27 to examine the future of energy storage and its relationship to the electric grid in Illinois. Acting Commissioner Anastasia Palivos and Staff hosted the session, inviting numerous expert panelists to weigh-in during the three-hour session. Each provided varying analyses of the landscape and challenges of energy storage in Illinois.

“If distributed energy resources have a chance at someday replacing fossil fuels, they will most likely be consistent and distributed evenly across our electric grid,” said Acting Commissioner Anastasia Palivos in her opening remarks. “An increase in energy storage could not only make the grid more resilient, it could also have a positive economic impact by lowering the cost of electricity.”

Panel one entitled “An Overview of Energy Storage” covered the history, technology and current landscape. George Crabtree, Director of Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne National Laboratory, kicked-off the first panel discussion by pointing out that, on average, electricity generators maintain 40 percent more infrastructure than necessary to ensure adequate and reliable energy. He outlined the numerous ways energy storage could be installed on the grid and add value to existing infrastructure.

Nitzan Goldberger, State Policy Director for Energy Storage Association wrapped up Panel one by reviewing three major barriers for energy storage: value, competition, and access. “As the Massachusetts State of Charge report demonstrates, the electricity market currently has the least amount of storage capacity of any U.S. commodity market,” Goldberger said. “Food, water, gasoline and oil commodity markets all maintain storage capacity that covers around 10% of the daily consumption, thereby reducing vulnerability to supply shocks, reduced productivity, and wasteful infrastructure – something we need to emulate with storage in the electricity markets to ensure we can meet peak demand.”