Energy Storage

Sterling storage systems yield more than $1 mil in avoided costs

The Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) in Massachusetts is marking 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.

SMLD’s first energy storage system, a 2-megawatt, 3.9-megawatt-hour utility scale battery from NEC Energy Solutions was the first of its kind in Massachusetts when it first went online in December 2016. 

The project was designed to provide Sterling with up to 12 days of emergency backup power to critical public facilities during severe weather events, as well as lower utility costs by dispatching the battery during peak load periods.  

The system prompted the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), Sterling’s joint action agency, to enhance its own peak load forecasting capabilities and develop a remote dispatch system, SMLD said.

After successfully calling several monthly peak loads for Sterling, MMWEC began remotely dispatching the battery from its offices in Ludlow, Mass., beginning in October 2017.  

In early 2018, SMLD teamed up with Origis Energy to develop the first community solar-plus-storage project in the state. 

The project paired a 1-MW, 2-MWh energy storage system with a 1-MW community solar project. The battery is energized exclusively by the solar system.    

By the time MMWEC began remotely dispatching SMLD’s second energy storage system in June 2018, the utility had already avoided more than $500,000 in costs by strategically dispatching its first battery during peak usage periods. 

MMWEC has been successful in calling the peak with 100 percent accuracy and today, both systems cumulatively have saved the light department over $1 million, SMLD said.  

“We would like to thank our partners who made all of this possible,” said SMLD General Manager Sean Hamilton.

Those partners include:

  • SMLD commissioners, staff and operations crew, along with the Town of Sterling;
  • Judith Judson from Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources;
  • Dr. Imre Gyuk of the U.S. Department of Energy;
  • Daniel Borneo and Dr. Raymond Byrne of Sandia National Laboratories;
  • Todd Olinsky-Paul of CEG and CESA; MMWEC; Scott Reynolds, of Reynolds Engineering LLC;
  • Mike Barrett of PLM;
  • Josh Teigiser of Origis Energy;
  • Sachin Patel of Last Mile Energy;
  • California’s SMUD and its CEO and GM Arlen Orchard, for project technical information; and
  • Jared Carpenter and Jim Frawley for grant technical information

Holyoke Gas & Electric to install 3-MW, 6-MWh battery storage system

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.

The energy storage facility will store power from the Mt. Tom solar facility to reduce local and regional peak loads.