Energy groups collaborating for utility scale electric storage project

Written By: Stratton Report
August 7, 2018

Energy groups collaborating for utility scale electric storage project

Vermont Electric Cooperative, Viridity Energy Solutions, Inc., Northern Power Systems, Inc., and WEG Electric Corp, announced a new and unique collaboration to implement a utility-scale Battery Energy Storage System for VEC in Hinesburg, VT. The lithium battery system, with an installed power of 1.9MW and energy storage capacity up to 5.3MWh, will increase flexibility for VEC, allowing it to draw power from the battery during peak demand times, to reduce transmission costs. Because the battery storage system will be able to supply electricity when the grid is experiencing high demand, or “peaking,” it can help contain costs for VEC. In addition, when the battery system is not being used for peak demand charge reduction for VEC it will be used to provide grid stability to reduce potential power outages.

The Viridity-VEC project will not only use innovative technology and systems, it also will employ an innovative partnership structure. Viridity will own and operate the storage system under the terms of an Energy Storage Service Agreement with VEC, utilizing Viridity’s Battery Storage as a Service product and services solution. Northern Power, headquartered in Barre, VT, together with WEG, will be responsible for project and technical design, permitting, construction, battery supply and installation and on-going management.

“We determined that the ESSA approach will bring the benefits of a battery energy storage system to the Co-op without requiring any significant upfront capital costs by VEC,” stated Vickie Brown, VEC’s Interim Chief Executive Officer. “The Co-op has ensured a fair price for the development and operation of this storage project with reliable partners, and it will help VEC meet our goal of developing cost-effective storage solutions,” she said. Brown thanked the project partners for their technical expertise and their commitment to collaboration, all which will contribute to ensuring a successful project.

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Viridity Energy, based in Philadelphia, will own and operate the project. “Viridity is thrilled to support VEC in bringing a cost-effective storage system to VEC members to reduce VEC member costs,” noted Raj Chudgar, Viridity President. “This project is a great example of what we can do when we work together across multiple organizations to achieve positive outcomes. We are pleased to be able to work with the Co-op and our partners, Northern and WEG, to implement this project by summer 2019.”

Ciel Caldwell, President of Northern Power, explained “We developed our capability to provide full turnkey megawatt energy storage systems that can incorporate different qualified battery suppliers while leveraging robust controls designed into our proprietary power converter. With proven systems, project management, monitoring and servicing capabilities, Northern Power is uniquely suited to deliver turnkey energy storage projects to customers like VEC and Viridity. We’re excited to expand on our long history as a technology partner with WEG for wind turbines to now also include collaboration on energy storage opportunities.”

According Mr. João Paulo Gualberto da Silva, WEG’s Director of New Solar and Eolic Energies “This is the first major commercial scale lithium-ion battery power project that WEG will provide. Being able to debut in the US market with a partner with Viridity’s experience is very important for the expansion of our business in the growing storage markets of energy by batteries.”

In addition to supplying energy at peak consumption times, the system will help control the voltage and frequency of the region’s power grid balancing the electricity between supply and consumption. The project has filed a 45-day public notice with the Vermont’s Public Utility Commission and is hoping to commission the project in the spring of 2019.