New Mass. AG continues hard line against local bylaws that hinder battery energy storage systems
On March 1, 2023, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell’s Municipal Law Department issued a decision (pdf) disapproving two sections of the Town of Wendell’s amended zoning bylaw, one of which prohibited stand-alone battery energy storage facilities in all districts. As previewed in our blog post last month, based on a footnote in the former AG’s disapproval of the Town of Carver’s zoning moratoria on battery storage systems, Attorney General Campbell has taken the position that M.G.L. c. 40A, § 3 (colloquially known as the Dover Amendment) protects battery storage systems as “structures that facilitate the collection of solar energy”– even as stand-alone systems.
In the case of Wendell, the proposed bylaw amendment, which allowed battery storage in conjunction with solar installations but prohibited commercial or industrial-scale battery storage, was not, in the Attorney General’s view, “grounded in articulated evidence of public health, safety or welfare concerns sufficient to justify the prohibition.” There was no evidence in the record