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NYC DOB, FDNY, Con Edison, NYSERDA, CUNY Collaborate on Blueprint for Li-ion Battery Permitting in NYC

New York took another step forward today in the effort to create a pathway to wide scale energy storage system (ESS) adoption with the release of a process guide for installing Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) batteries in New York City. The City University of New York (CUNY) Smart Distributed Generation (DG) Hub, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), Con Edison and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) worked together to develop the first comprehensive set of guidelines for installing Li-ion energy storage systems. 

The Energy Storage Permitting and Interconnection Process Guide for New York City: Lithium-Ion Outdoor Systems guide is designed to provide building owners and project developers with an understanding of the permitting, interconnection and approval processes for outdoor Li-ion ESS in New York City, with requirements scaled to project size, impact, and cost. The Guide provides flow charts that illustrate the entire process, detailed step-by-step instructions for each of the permitting authorities, and a checklist that summarizes all submission requirements. 

Over the next few months, building owners and project developers will work with the FDNY and DOB to test the processes outlined in the guide so they can be refined by the City, if needed, as the City establishes regulations for battery storage. 

Nationwide, energy storage technology has attracted billions in investment due to its ability to provide backup power (resiliency) when paired with solar or other distributed generation, as well as play a critical energy-saving role when the grid is constrained or when consumers are anticipating heavy energy usage. However this relatively new technology, and its subsequent variations, continues to face regulatory, policy and financial challenges - some of which are unique to urban environments. 

Jason Doling, Energy Storage Program Manager, NYSERDA said, "This is a critical advancement of battery storage as foundational element of Governor Cuomo's drive to create a more resilient energy system throughout the state. I congratulate all of the partners who participated in developing the guidelines which will help accelerate energy storage systems throughout New York City."  

"The City's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect energy affordability requires finding smarter ways to use renewable power when we need it and store the rest for later. Creating a safer, more favorable environment for battery storage projects is a critical part of that process and these guidelines will help streamline the path for storage developers to quickly enter the NYC market," said Mark Chambers, Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability.

“The development of lithium-ion and other battery technologies present new opportunities and new challenges to the City. The Fire Department was pleased to be part of a collaborative effort to develop guidelines for the outdoor installation of these energy storage systems,” said Ronald Spadafora, Chief of Fire Prevention for the FDNY. “We believe that these guidelines are an important first step in protecting public and firefighter safety and promoting safe energy storage.

"Harnessing the powers of emerging energy technologies like lithium ion batteries will help create a more sustainable future for our City, and help us reach our goal of reducing NYC carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. This blueprint will be a critical tool to make sure this technology is implemented in a safe and responsible way, and we are proud of collaborative effort with our City and State partners to make this happen," said Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, P.E.  

"New technology needs a transparent pathway through the regulatory process in order to reach mainstream deployment," said Tria Case, University Director of Sustainability and Energy Conservation. "CUNY is proud to serve as an objective and trusted third party that has been able to bring all the decision makers to the table to develop this storage guide. We will continue to work with permitting authorities to unlock the storage market across the state." 

"Rapidly evolving technology using batteries to store electricity offers customers another promising option as they look for ways to meet the energy needs of their homes and businesses, while protecting the environment," said Matthew Ketschke, Con Edison's senior vice president of Customer Energy Solutions. "We're pleased to work with CUNY and others in developing this guide that will help home and commercial property owners to navigate the city permitting process and interconnections to the grid." 

"The creation of the Guide for outdoor energy storage systems in New York City will provide much needed clarity for companies, building owners, utilities and customers seeking to deploy energy storage systems for resiliency, to maximize renewable energy, reduce emissions and improve overall building and electric grid performance," said Dr. William P. Acker, Executive Director New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST). "NY-BEST applauds the City and State agencies, as well as CUNY DG Hub and all of the partners, who worked together to streamline the siting process for storage through this Guide."  

"In the rapidly developing storage market, it is vital to ensure that systems are appropriately tested in the context of their application and assessed according to the specifics of their installations. Ensuring the safety of a densely packed urban area while supporting the increased penetration of novel green technologies is a difficult but important balance that New York City is clearly striving to achieve," said Victoria Carey of DNV GL. 

The Smart DG Hub is continuing to work with FDNY, DOB, technical advisors DNV GL and other partners to further establish the outdoor standards and to develop interior siting guidelines. The Smart DG Hub, with support from NYSERDA, will also be providing technical assistance to permitting agencies and the storage industry across New York State. Removing permitting uncertainty is a critical step in helping to reduce barriers to storage deployment in meeting State and City energy storage goals.


The Smart DG Hub, established by Sustainable CUNY, is a comprehensive effort to develop a strategic pathway to a more resilient distributed energy system in New York State. The work of the Hub is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, NYSERDA, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the City of New York. Recently Sustainable CUNY released the Critical Facility Solar+ Evaluator, an interactive mapping tool on the NY Solar Map and Portal that is designed to display critical facilities in NYC where installing resilient PV (solar+storage) would be beneficial.