A home storage battery setup.

“The big debate out there,” said Gordon van Welie, CEO of ISO-New England, “is can you do it the way Texas is doing it, which is an energy-only market? Or do you need a capacity market?”

Capacity markets aim to ensure grid reliability by paying participants to commit generation for delivery years into the future. Energy-only markets, by contrast, pay generators only when they provide power on a day-to-day basis.

How about a third way — one where power utilities incentivize their customers to maintain battery power backup systems which they fill when there is excess power in the grid and draw from when there is high demand.

The following list of Connecticut Utility regulations…

  • Sec. 16-243n. Time-of-use, mandatory peak, shoulder, off-peak and seasonal rates. Optional interruptible or load response rates.
  • Sec. 16-243h. Credit to residential customers who generate electricity; metering.
  • Sec. 16-243i. Awards to retail end use electric customers.

….shows that plenty of thought has been given to various schemes to smooth out power production with demand, but these rules were legislated in 2005.

Since then, in particular this year, a high power density long-lasting cobalt free LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery suitable for incentivizing customers, retail and commercial, to buy and install battery packs is doing what in 2005 was not thought possible.

The state legislature should draw opinions from utilities and consumers to develop regulations to take advantage of this new resource — making it worthwhile for consumers to invest in battery packs to reduce the wasted energy generated in times of lower demand.

Vincent Arguimbau lives in Darien.