The state Energy Storage Benefits Commission is looking at ways Maine might turn to large batteries to supply electricity during times of peak demand.
The Commission is looking to other states for guidance on how to ease demand for expensive electricity.
“If we incorporate more renewable energy, specifically wind and solar, those are intermittent sources of energy,” says State Sen. Eloise Vitelli, a Democrat from Arrowsic, who chairs the panel. “So you have to have some way of evening out the flow of energy which is where battery storage comes in.”
The Commission has heard from experts on projects across the country in which large battery storage facilities are used not only as a source of electric capacity at peak times, but as backup power for critical facilities such as hospitals and military bases.
“Maine is well poised I think to catch up pretty quickly if we can get the regulatory framework in place,” Vitelli says.
A key question, say Commission members is how to pay for the battery storage facilities. Recommendations will be made to the legislature in January.