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Engie, HG&E partner on solar energy storage project

CTBR Staff Writer Published 05 October 2017

Engie North America and Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E) have unveiled plans to store electricity from a 5.76MW solar farm in Massachusetts, US, in an adjacent energy storage system.

The 3 MW/6 MWh energy storage system will be installed at Mt. Tom Solar, adjacent to former coal plant. It will reduce utility capacity costs and reduces stress on the distribution system of HG&E.

It is claimed to contribute towards HG&E’s stabilisation over the next 20 years. Apart from this, customers can also benefit from improved power quality and reliability. Engie says that the project will be completed and commissioned in next April, in time for peak summer, when capacity costs will be very high.

HG&E manager Jim Lavelle said: "We are pleased to work with ENGIE on the Mt. Tom energy storage project, which will produce peak demand and asset management benefits that will help HG&E stabilize electric rates over the long term.

"This project also adds a measure of resiliency to our local grid, helping us to better serve our customers.”

A funding of $475,000, for the project comes from Massachusetts’ Peak Demand Management Program to HG&E, under the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Grant.

These funds will be used to contract with, schedule, measure and analyse the energy storage system. The purpose of the grant is to provide research and recommendations on the future distribution system value of battery storage devices throughout the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said: “Massachusetts is proud to be a national leader in energy efficiency programs that reduce overall consumption and we are committed to continuing our work to improve energy costs disproportionately affected by times of peak demand.

“The demonstration projects funded through these grants will strengthen our innovation economy and provide the Commonwealth with a roadmap for reducing our most expensive energy loads and securing our energy future.”

The battery storage system will be charged from the electricity produced from the the Mt. Tom 5.76 MW-DC solar farm. The stored power will be used when there is local and regional peak load period to effectively satisfy the demand, while reducing utility costs and demand charges for customers. Demand charges are incurred when electricity and capacity taken from the grid and used during peak demand periods.

ENGIE North America president and CEO Frank Demaille said: “Solar and energy storage are keys to a low-carbon, low-cost energy future and HG&E is taking the lead by moving forward proactively to deploy what we see as the future for the energy industry.”