Stories by Maggie Teliska

Expert Voices

Massachusetts sweetening the deal for energy storage systems

a fenced enclosure of battery units
Battery units in Longmont, Colo. Photo: Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A new $3.5 million energy storage system went online last month in Ashburnham, Mass., continuing a statewide expansion of systems designed to ease pressure on the electric grid at times of peak demand.

Why it matters: In January, Massachusetts became the first state to offer incentives for battery systems, with the approval of a $2 billion state energy efficiency plan. The program is expected to support the installation of 30–34 MW of storage capacity during its 3-year term, on top of 190 MW from other operating and planned projects.

Expert Voices

Passenger ferries are going electric

passangers boarding an electric ferry on a river in France
An all-electric, zero-emission ferry in Lorient, France. Photo: Jean-Sebastien Evrard/AFP/Getty Images

Ships are the latest mode of transportation to see electric upgrades as the maritime industry faces increased pressure to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil-fuel propulsion.

The big picture: Passenger ferries are ideal for electric propulsion using current battery technology, which can reduce water and air pollution while providing a quiet, vibration-free trip. Short routes with frequent stops along populated shorelines offer ample opportunities to charge the battery packs.

Expert Voices

Insurers are easing adoption of large-scale energy storage

parts of a flow battery
Parts of a flow battery at the Fraunhofer Institute in Pfinztal, Germany. Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

German insurance company Munich Re will now offer long-term insurance on battery performance in energy storage systems, a move that could reduce barriers to investment in energy technologies.

Why it matters: Large-scale renewable energy systems are expensive and complex, and in some cases their manufacturers have declared bankruptcy before the end of their systems' maintenance and warranty periods. Insuring against such risks — as well as those associated with relatively untested new battery chemistries — could spur adoption of innovative technologies by utilities and transportation providers and in off-grid applications.