Community Solar, DER, DER, Grid Scale

Former Coal Plant Now Home to Community Solar + Storage Facility

On Tuesday, ENGIE North American and Holyoke Gas and Electric (HG&E) christened the largest grid-scale energy storage system in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. The 3-MW / 6-MWh system is integrated with the 5.6-MW Mt. Tom community solar farm, one of the largest community solar farms in the state. The solar farm went online in 2017.

Both the solar and storage facilities are at the site of the former Mt. Tom Power Station, a coal and oil-fired generation facility that provided power to the grid for more than 50 years and closed its doors in 2014. Mt. Tom is about 90 miles west of Boston in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

ENGIE Storage Services, formerly Green Charge Networks will operate the storage system. The company said the system will reduce peak loads on the grid and provide grid stability by responding quickly to demand fluctuations.

Massachusetts is moving towards generating 45.5 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2035 and energy storage is playing an important role in getting there. Demand-based costs are rising throughout the New England market and constituting a large portion of energy costs, creating increasing incentives to reduce energy usage during peak periods.

Over a 20-year term, HG&E will use energy storage to reduce demand peak burden on its electrical distribution system, thus increasing overall asset life. ENGIE storage systems are monitored, optimized, and controlled through its GridSynergy software platform.

“This project is the perfect illustration of energy transformation in action – affordable, clean energy replacing traditional fossil fuel power generation,” said ENGIE NA President and CEO Frank Demaille.

“It’s been gratifying to see the Mt. Tom property transform over the last few years,” said Mayor Alex Morse.

“This state-of-the-art battery storage system enhances our ability to increase Holyoke’s renewable energy portfolio, and we are hopeful that the Mt. Tom Energy Storage project will be the first of many storage projects that help us advance our environmental objectives,” Mayor Morse added.