Duke Energy Plans To Invest At Least Half a Billion in Energy Storage in the Carolinas

This week Duke Energy said that it plans to deploy about $500 million of battery storage capacity over the next 15 years, which it estimates to be equivalent to about 300 MW of capacity. (MWh of capacity was not specified.) The storage capacity investment is written into its latest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP)

Combining battery storage from all utilities, North Carolina has only about 15 megawatts of battery storage capacity in operation, and far less in South Carolina, so the IRP represents an almost 20-fold increase in storage for the region.  

As the grid operator, Duke Energy can maximize the versatility of storage beyond storing and dispatching of energy to include other customer and system benefits such as system balancing and deferral of traditional grid upgrades.

 “Duke Energy is at the forefront of battery energy storage, and our investment could increase as we identify projects that deliver benefits to our customers,” said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology.

“Utility-owned and operated projects in North Carolina and South Carolina will include a variety of system benefits that will help improve reliability for our customers and provide significant energy grid support for the region.”

Hot Springs Microgrid On Track

This week, the company filed for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a solar facility in the Hot Springs community of Madison County as part of a microgrid project.

The Hot Springs Microgrid project will consist of a 2-MW (AC) solar facility and a 4-MW lithium-based battery storage facility. The microgrid will serve the Hot Springs area, and provide energy and grid support to all customers. The project will defer ongoing maintenance of an existing distribution power line that serves the remote town.

The Hot Springs project is part Duke Energy’s Western Carolinas Modernization Project, which involves on-going conversations with community partners to help advance a cleaner energy future for the region. It includes closing a half-century-old, coal-fired power plant in Asheville in 2019. The plant will be replaced with a cleaner natural gas-fired plant and distributed energy resources like solar power and battery storage.

More Storage Projects

In addition to battery storage projects planned or operating in Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Texas, Duke Energy is also operating and pursuing other projects in the Carolinas.

In the city of Asheville, a 9-MW lithium-ion battery system will be placed 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 reliability for customers.

In Haywood County, Duke Energy has a zinc-air battery installation that was recently highlighted nationally. The 95-kWh zinc-air battery and 10-kW solar installation serving a communications tower on Mount Sterling in the Smoky Mountains National Park has been operating for more than a year.


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Jennifer Runyon
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. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com 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 and expo for the transmission and distribution industry. In her role, she works in close cooperation with a large team of committed industry executives to shape the educational content for the event. She also helps assemble the renewable energy content for POWERGEN and helped launch the first Grid-Scale Storage Summit, a co-located event at HYDROVISION International. She has traveled to Germany to see onshore and offshore wind installations; Iceland to see geothermal energy in action; and France to see cutting-edge smart grids. In the U.S. she has visited and reported about bioenergy power plants in Florida, both large-scale and small-scale hydropower; and multiple wind farms, solar PV, and CSP installations. Formerly, she was the managing editor of Innovate Forum, an online publication that focused on innovation in manufacturing. Prior to that she was the managing editor at Desktop Engineering magazine. In 2008, she won an "Eddy Award" for her editing work on an article about solar trees in Vienna. In 2010, RenewableEnergyWorld.com was awarded an American Business Media Neal Award for its eNewsletters, which were created under her direction. She holds a Master's Degree in English Education from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Virginia.

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