Duke Energy gets approval for solar + battery microgrid and standalone battery system

This week, Duke Energy announced that regulators have approved two projects involving energy storage worth about $30 million.

The first project is a microgrid for Madison County that will use solar PV and lithium ion batteries. The second is a large battery storage project in the city of Asheville.

Microgrid

In the town of Hot Springs, Duke will build a solar and battery-powered microgrid system that will help improve electric reliability, provide services to the overall electric system and serve as a backup power supply to the town of more than 500 residents. The microgrid will consist of a 2-MW (AC) solar facility and a 4.4 MW / 4.4 MWh lithium-based battery storage facility. The microgrid will provide a safe, cost-effective and reliable grid solution for the Hot Springs area as well as energy and additional bulk system benefits for all customers, said Duke in a press release. This will include reliability services to the electric grid, such as frequency and voltage regulation and ramping support and capacity during system peaks.

The project is part of Duke Energy’s grid modernization plan that it previously announced.

Energy storage system

Another component of that plan is in the city of Asheville where Duke Energy will connect a 9-MW / 9-MWh lithium-ion battery system at a Duke Energy substation site in the Rock Hill community – near Sweeten Creek Road. The battery will primarily be used to help the electric system operate more efficiently and reliably for customers.

Together, the two projects will cost around $30 million and should be operational in early 2020.

Leadership

Duke Energy considers itself a leader in microgrid technology. The company has a 95-kilowatt-hour zinc-air battery and 10-kilowatt solar installation serving a communications tower on Mount Sterling in the Smoky Mountains National Park that has been operating since 2017. It is also currently working on proposed projects in South Carolina.

Previously, the company operated a microgrid that served a local fire station in Charlotte. It continues to operate a microgrid at its Mount Holly research center in Gaston County.

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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