ENGIE North America and Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E) announced plans for the largest utility-scale energy storage installation in Massachusetts. Green Charge, an ENGIE NA subsidiary, will operate the three-megawatt energy storage system at Mt. Tom Solar, which began operation in January of this year adjacent to the former Mt. Tom Power Station. The system will be used to optimize intermittent solar energy and reduce utility capacity costs for HG&E, the system’s customer, while reducing stress on the HG&E distribution system. This project will contribute to rate stabilization for HG&E customers over the next 20 years. In addition, customers will benefit from improved power quality and reliability. Green Charge expects to complete installation by April 2018, in time for the peak summer months when capacity costs are highest.
As part of Massachusetts’ Peak Demand Management Program, HG&E was awarded a $475,000 MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Grant. The funds will be used to contract with, schedule, measure, and analyze this state-of-the-art energy storage system. UMass Amherst will quantify the peak reduction value to the distribution system, accounting for equipment value, cost reduction potential, and overall project data. The goal of the grant is to provide research and recommendations on the future distribution system value of battery storage devices throughout the Commonwealth.
While still an emerging energy innovation in Massachusetts, worldwide energy storage is rapidly being considered as a key resource that optimizes clean, renewable energy. Electricity produced from the Mt. Tom 5.76 MW-DC solar farm will be stored in the energy storage system isolated from, but interconnected to, HG&E’s electricity grid. This stored power will be called upon during local and regional peak load periods to cost-effectively satisfy demand, while reducing utility costs and demand charges for customers. Demand charges are incurred for electricity and capacity taken from the power grid and used during peak demand periods.
Over a 20-year term, HG&E will also use energy storage to reduce the burden on its electrical distribution system, thus increasing overall asset life. Green Charge systems are monitored, optimized, and controlled through its proprietary GridSynergy™ software platform.