May 9, 2018 Read More →

New Guidelines Expected to Spur NYC Storage Efforts

Utility Dive:

If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. At least that is what the song says about New York City. And it stands for energy storage.

New York City has some of the most stringent rules in the country for permitting energy storage projects, as well as an ambitious storage target of 100 MWh by 2020. But there were only 4.8 MWh of storage installed in the city at the beginning of 2017, as it is so difficult to secure a permit for a project—especially involving lithium-ion technology.

At the end of April, New York took a step toward resolving that issue with the release of the first comprehensive guidelines for installing lithium-ion batteries in New York City. The guidelines were the result of a collaboration among the City University of New York (CUNY) Smart Distributed Generation Hub, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), Consolidated Edison and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The guidelines are only for outdoor energy storage projects, including rooftop projects, but they represent a step forward in a multi-year process.

The CUNY guide is a “huge help because people are very uncertain about the process,” Veronica Ciechowska Weiss, a project manager with Burnham Nationwide, told Utility Dive. Burnham helps clients through the permitting process for a variety of types of projects. The state treats the permitting of energy storage projects on an individual basis, which has led to a costly and time-consuming process, according to Ciechowska Weiss. Solar projects in New York faced a similar problem before the state came up with permitting guidelines like the ones now being developed for energy storage, she said.

The guide establishes three classes of projects: 20 kWh and lower, up to 250 kWh and larger than 250 kWh. The guide lays out the permitting process for the three classes of projects with flow charts of agencies and required approvals. For the two smaller classes of projects, the process can largely be completed through the submission of paperwork. The largest class of projects would still need to be approved by site visits by the FDNY.

More: New York City Moves To Streamline Energy Storage Permitting

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