Batteries are coming!
New policy from PSE’s regulator
“I feel very confident batteries are going to be our solution,” CENSE president Don Marsh told the Bellevue Reporter in August, shortly after PSE announced the final route for the Energize Eastside transmission line. PSE vice president Andy Wappler disagreed, saying a battery big enough to defer the power lines would be enormous – too big for PSE to properly charge between peak events.
Mr. Wappler based his statement on a 2015 report by a PSE-hired consultant. The report has many flaws and shaky conclusions. For example, the consultant determined a 328-megawatt battery would be needed to cover a 14-megawatt need. No battery in the world has been super-sized so dramatically.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), which regulates PSE, will require utilities to update the methodology used to evaluate energy storage (article). In a Policy Statement issued last week, the UTC says, “Energy storage is a key enabling technology for utilities to accomplish the goals of the state’s energy policies. Washington’s investor-owned utilities should be working diligently to identify and pursue cost-effective opportunities to incorporate energy storage into their systems.”
PSE has been dragging its feet on batteries because transmission lines are much more profitable for the company. CENSE has asked the UTC to consider a rate-of-return policy that would align PSE’s profit goals with the public’s desire for safe, sensible, sustainable energy solutions. Customers can save money and PSE can get a higher return on its investments.
This is the kind of win-win scenario that the Pacific Northwest deserves.
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