Senator Lawrence, Representative Berry, and distinguished members of the Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee. My name is David Costello. I am the Climate and Clean Energy Program Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), and I am testifying today in support of LD 528, An Act to Advance Energy Storage in Maine.
Adequately Confronting Climate Change and Achieving a Prosperous Clean Energy Future
To reduce the most severe health, environmental, and economic impacts of climate change, the world must cut greenhouse gas emissions by almost half by 2030. That’s the position of the overwhelming majority of scientists, health professionals, and economists, including those at the University of Maine. Fortunately for Maine, Governor Mills and a bipartisan majority of state lawmakers have been heeding this advice and are working diligently to address the causes and consequences of climate change, and they are doing so in ways that are bolstering Maine’s public and environmental health and long-term prosperity.
Central to this effort is the work being undertaken to accelerate Maine’s transition to a future powered by local, clean energy. This vital work requires significant upgrades to the state’s electric grid and increased investments in solar and wind energy generation and storage.
Energy Storage Key
Long-duration energy storage systems will help in optimizing Maine’s transition to clean energy by augmenting less costly but variable clean energy sources like wind and solar when and wherever needed, and by enhancing overall grid resilience, reliability, and efficiency.
Energy Storage Commission Report
The recent report of the legislative commission charged with studying the economic, environmental, and energy benefits of energy storage in Maine found that energy storage:
• Has the potential to reduce energy costs and improve reliability;
• Complements and supports renewable energy;
• Is dynamic and evolving and presents cost-effective energy options; and
• May be inhibited by market barriers or a lack of clear regulatory signals.
The commission also conceded that Maine is behind other New England states in implementing constructive energy storage policies and that Maine ratepayers may bear higher electricity costs as a result. To further the beneficial deployment and utilization of energy storage systems in Maine, the commission recommended that Maine:
• Establish state targets for energy storage development;
• Encourage energy storage paired with renewable and distributed generation resources;
• Advance energy storage as an energy efficiency resource;
• Address electricity rate design issues relating to time variation in costs;
• Clarify utility ownership of energy storage;
• Advocate for energy storage consideration in regional wholesale markets; and
• Conduct an in-depth Maine-specific analysis of energy storage costs, benefits and opportunities.
LD 528 acknowledges the good work of the commission and advances the implementation of its thoughtful recommendations. For these reasons, NRCM urges the Committee to support this important climate and clean energy initiative. Thank you for your consideration, and I welcome any questions.