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There’s a bill in the N.H. legislature that seems to support at-home, behind-the-meter battery storage. I say “seems” because the devil is in the detais and when lawmaking and utility regulation overlap, the details get too detailed for me to be sure I understand them all.

However, Senate Bill 498 sounds to me like a petty good push for distributed storage.

For example, it says the Public Utilities Commission should establish special rates (“tariffs”) to reflect the value that home batteries can have in shaving off costly energy peaks when demand is high. Also it would “require a utility to compensate a non-utility for a fair share, as determined by the commission, of the value of any transmission or distribution costs the utility is likely to avoid because of the non-utility energy storage project, to the extent practicable.”

Those are the two huge benefits that distributed storage can provide: Peak-shaving and reducing the need for more power lines. They are worth money and that money should go to the people who install the batteries.

It would also allow “bring your own device” programs.

The bill was passed by the Senate as part of a huge clump passed in one session June 16, trying to make up for time lost to COVID-19. Next up in the House of Representatives, then the governor. I have no idea how likely it is that this bill will pass those obstacles.

One other point: The bill would forbid utilities from owning behind-the-meter batteries. I’m of two minds about this – on the one hand it’s good because if utilities can own them they might twist the rules so that others can’t own them; on the other hand, utilities have the money and expertise to build a lot of batteries quickly if they want to.

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