Sun. Sep 15th, 2019

New England’s Municipal Utilities Get a Style for Battery Storage

NEC Power Options is constructing momentum with its grid battery choices for municipal utilities in New England.

Two years after a pathbreaking storage venture with the Sterling Municipal Gentle Division in Massachusetts, NEC has added 5 extra contracts in that state and one in Maine. The tasks will add as much as 20 megawatts of energy capability and greater than 40 megawatt-hours of power storage.

The battery techniques will assist the municipal utilities scale back the consumption peaks that drive month-to-month transmission prices and an annual capability cost. By predicting peaks and discharging on the proper time, the storage vegetation lower your expenses for utility clients.

The two megawatt/ four megawatt-hour system in-built Sterling, Massachusetts, for a municipal utility with lower than four,000 clients, has already saved native ratepayers greater than $1 million since December 2016, NEC stated.

With that venture as a mannequin, the storage producer and integrator has succeeded in increasing its footprint within the rising New England storage market, the place supportive state insurance policies mix with entry to wholesale market income to make venture economics viable.

“This exercise is added proof of an inflection level within the adoption of power storage available in the market as municipal entities are actually transferring ahead with tasks with out subsidies,” gross sales director Doug Alderton stated through e mail Monday.

The Sterling venture helped stimulate subsequent offers by exhibiting how batteries might lower your expenses for purchasers, he added. Massachusetts moved issues alongside after that with its aggressive Advancing Commonwealth Power Storage grants, which supported three of the newly introduced tasks, in Ashburnham, Taunton and Wakefield.

Extra not too long ago, tasks are advancing primarily based on the economics of decrease storage costs and growing transmission prices, Alderton stated.

NEC Power Options, the storage unit of Japan’s NEC Corp., claims to have greater than 750 megawatts of storage in place all over the world.

Quick-moving munis

Municipal utilities procure energy on behalf of the communities they serve. They pay charges for month-to-month transmission utilization and annual consumption in the course of the system peak, a state of affairs fast-reacting battery system can mitigate. Vermont utility Inexperienced Mountain Energy has tackled these peaks with a distributed fleet of a number of hundred house battery techniques.

Metropolis-run municipal utilities function with a flatter hierarchy than a standard investor-owned utility, and their shareholders are their clients (and neighbors). This localized construction may also help munis transfer shortly on clear power tasks which may provoke years of research in different territories.

“Municipal entities management their very own approval and interconnection course of, enabling quicker resolution processes and approvals to venture execution,” Alderton stated. “When there’s a clear financial benefit to their ratepayers, they will transfer swiftly to reap the benefits of technical innovation and value declines.”

Sterling supplied an early instance of that, earlier than all however a handful of bigger utilities had adopted batteries for peak energy supply.

Municipal utilities proceed to interrupt new floor, just like the one within the Southern California metropolis of Glendale, which executed a sweeping transition from fossil fuels to distributed, clear power in the midst of a yr. The regionally managed Western Farmers Electrical Cooperative in Oklahoma not too long ago contracted with NextEra for the nation’s largest wind, photo voltaic and battery plant.

A few of the newly introduced tasks can be owned by the municipal utilities, however a couple of can be owned by third events below contract to the muni; NEC declined to specify which of them fall into which camp.

One third-party proprietor is pairing the battery with co-located photo voltaic and claiming the funding tax credit score. One other developer will bid into the New England ISO wholesale markets when the battery is just not on name for peak shaving.

The number of use circumstances factors to why New England has turn into such a hotspot for power storage improvement. States like Massachusetts and New York have devoted funds to early storage adoption, and the ISO New England wholesale markets are extra amenable to participation by newfangled storage vegetation than markets elsewhere. These income streams mix with particular buyer wants, like peak shaving.

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