Energy Storage

Battery storage project to help address peaks

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on July 10 to commemorate the completion and electrification of the 5-megawatt Minuteman Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) located at Reading Municipal Light Department’s (RMLD) North Reading substation.

Representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, local delegates of the Massachusetts House and Senate, local officials, and representatives from NextEra Energy Resources joined Reading Municipal Light Department Commission members and staff

The unit was installed with the support of a $1 million grant from the Massachusetts government’s Energy Storage Initiative (ESI) Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) program, funded by the DOER and administered by the MassCEC.

The unit will support what RMLD referred to as “shredding the peak,” and will integrate into RMLD’s power supply portfolio a mix focused on providing reliable and cleaner energy resources.

Reducing RMLD’s usage during peaks helps to offset current and future transmission and capacity costs, a direct benefit to RMLD customers. Peaks can also impact the environment, RMLD noted. In some cases, less efficient and higher carbon emitting New England generators are called into action to meet the high demand for electricity, RMLD said.

Energy storage units such as the BESS can help to reduce the need for these types of peaking generators.

The BESS will be charged during off-peak hours and discharged during peak events to reduce RMLD’s peak load. The BESS is co-located with RMLD’s 2.5-megawatt distributed generator, which is also used for peak reduction.

The BESS is the largest stand-alone energy storage unit in Massachusetts, and the largest of the 26 projects selected to receive the state’s ACES funding.

Ashburnham storage project cuts transmission, capacity costs

In related news, local and state officials gathered in Ashburnham, Mass., on May 30 to cut the ribbon on the Ashburnham Municipal Light Plant’s (AMLP) new three-megawatt, five-megawatt-hour battery storage project. 

The lithium ion battery, located adjacent to an AMLP substation, went online in January 2019.  

The project was made possible through an ACES grant, which covered 25 percent of the cost of the battery. 

In April, Sterling Municipal Light Department in Massachusetts marked a major milestone related to the department’s two energy storage systems. In March, SMLD celebrated over $1 million in avoided costs to the light department, thanks to the two systems, the public power utility said on April 16.

In late 2017, another Massachusetts public power utility, Holyoke Gas & Electric, said it planned to install a 3 megawatt/6 megawatt-hour battery storage system tied to an existing 5.8-MW solar facility in western Massachusetts to help the public power utility reduce its peak load.