Power companies in New England tapping residential batteries to reduce peak demand

Tesla Powerwall in a home. Credit: Tesla

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg

Here’s the latest wrinkle in the battery boom: National Grid Plc is paying consumers to tap electricity from their power-storage systems.

The utility has about 40 customers in the program now in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and said expanding it to include Tesla Inc.’s Powerwall users may boost participation before the typical summertime peak in power consumption. National Grid is targeting 280 customers across the two states by early next month.

The program may help the utility reduce capital costs by letting it access stored power from customers of Sunrun Inc. and other providers during periods of high demand. A single Tesla Powerwall battery in Rhode Island could earn as much as $1,000 a year, according to a spokesman for the automaker.

“By using this technology at peak periods, we reduce our electric loads when power is most expensive,” said John Isberg, a vice president at National Grid. “This should provide environmental benefits and reduce infrastructure-investment costs.”

Utilities in the Northeast have been among the early movers in incorporating solar and battery-storage systems into power grids. New England’s grid operator in February approved the addition of 145 megawatts of solar capacity, including some from Sunrun paired with batteries. And in Vermont, utility Green Mountain Power introduced a program this year to let 250 customers get two Tesla Powerwall batteries for $30 a month.

Related: Residential PV + batteries as wholesale energy market suppliers are just the ‘tip of the spear’

National Grid’s program comes as costs for batteries have plunged, making storage systems a popular complement to rooftop solar. Outages triggered by extreme weather and wildfires across the country have also boosted demand for batteries.

“We’re just getting to the point where they can provide these services cost effectively,” said Paul Wassink, a senior engineer at National Grid.

Energy storage is a hot topic at POWERGEN International and DISTRIBUTECH International

Untitled Document

Recent Articles

Largest Cherokee County wind farm now under construction

After a 23-year wind farm construction hiatus, work on a 2nd Cherokee County wind farm has begun. Developed...

Nine solar projects go live in Georgia

Duke Energy Renewables, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, announced that nine solar projects developed with SolA...

Can Italy strike twice?

Italy’s National Energy Strategy aims to increase wind and solar power’s share of gross final energy consum...

Lekela reaches financial close for its West Bakr Wind project

Lekela announced that it has reached financial close on its first wind project in Egypt, West Bakr Win...

Bernie Sanders’ ‘Green New Deal’ aims to have renewables power homes by 2030

Bernie Sanders wants renewable energy to power U.S. homes and vehicles by 2030 -- and he wants to do it by ...


There is no current content available.

Copyright 2018 Bloomberg


Volume 19, Issue 6


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today: