Powering Strong Communities

Pascoag Utility District, Agilitas Energy Bring R.I.’s First Utility Scale Battery Online

Pascoag Utility District (PUD), in partnership with Agilitas Energy, in July brought Rhode Island’s first utility-scale battery storage project online.

For Pascoag Utility District, the 3-megawatt (MW), 9-megawatt hour (MWh) battery installation helps it shave peak demand and deferred transmission costs. The public power utility entered the project as a non-wires alternative solution to upgrading or installing new transmission lines, which would have cost Pascoag between $6 million and $12 million.

“This project allowed us to save up to $12 million dollars for our customers by avoiding a costly rebuilding of transmission infrastructure,” Mike Kirkwood, general manager of Pascoag Utility District, said in a statement.

There was no cost associated with the project for Pascoag, however, the utility did complete work on a substation that was required for the battery project.

PUD received a grant of $250,000 from Rhode Island’s Office of Energy Resources (OER) for the substation project, which was also funded by an $1.4 million loan from the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank and approved by OER through the state’s Efficient Building Fund program.

For its part, “Agilitas invested the necessary capital for construction, completed the engineering, procurement and construction for the battery project, and worked with PUD to commission this project,” Barrett Bilotta, president of Agilitas Energy, said via email. As part of the deal, Agilitas will split the transmission and capacity savings with the utility district. The savings come from avoided regional network service charges and installed capacity (ICAP) charges assessed by ISO-New England based on PUD’s peak load.

Agilitas, which owns and operates the battery project, uses it to provide energy to ISO New England grid when wholesale electric prices are high and charges the batteries from the grid when electric prices are low.

“As demand grows due to increased electrification and extreme weather conditions, we want to ensure Pascoag and Harrisville residents experience the same service and value they’ve come to expect,” Kirkwood said. “This project from Agilitas Energy was an easy, no-risk way to keep our operating costs down and deliver cleaner energy in the most cost-effective manner.”

Agilitas, based in Wakefield, Mass., acquired the Ocean State battery project in Rhode Island in April 2021 as part of its acquisition of New England Battery Storage, which added 25 MWh of energy storage capacity to its portfolio.