Governor Dan McKee, Pascoag Utility District (PUD) and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) announced the official opening of Rhode Island’s first utility scale battery storage facility.
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The PUD had this battery storage system installed to provide increased reliability for its 5,000 customers during peak electricity demand days.
“I am proud to announce that Rhode Island continues its leadership on clean energy innovation by installing the state’s first utility-scale battery storage system,” said Governor McKee.
“This battery technology, which allows for the storage of energy and deploys it when it is most needed, is a vital link in our state’s transition to a 100 percent clean electricity grid by 2033. Pascoag is setting a great example for others to follow.”
Renewable energy relies on intermittent technology, which means that it is limited to generating power when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.
Battery storage makes it possible to save the energy generated by renewable energy and use it during peak electricity demand times, such as during hot days of the summer or when commuters return home at night to power on their appliances and other electronics.
Batteries may be installed on the grid, as is the case here with the Pascoag Utility District. At a grid-scale, energy storage may lower congestion and stress on the electric grid by managing the amount of electricity on the grid at one time.
This can reduce the need for the utility company to install or upgrade poles and wires to meet an area’s growing energy demand. This results in avoided infrastructure costs which saves money for ratepayers in the long term.
Batteries may also be installed in homes and buildings to provide auxiliary or emergency power when needed.
PUD received a grant of $250,000 from OER. The PUD substation work was funded by an $1.4 million loan from the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank approved by OER through the state’s Efficient Building Fund program.
By installing the battery system, PUD was able to avoid paying up to $12 million in grid infrastructure upgrades.
Agilitas Energy installed and currently operates the 3 MW battery facility from a leased industrial site in Pascoag. The battery energy storage system went into commercial operation on July 7, 2022 and has already begun to help PUD lower its peak load during times of highest usage. ■