Braintree Electric Light Department and Borrego Solar Receive $700k Grant from Massachusetts Clean Energy Center for Energy Storage Project
The grant partly funds a project that reduces energy and transmission capacity costs for Braintree Electric Light Department and demonstrates ways in which energy storage can enable more intermittent renewable generation and defer traditional distribution system investment.
Borrego Solar Systems, a leading developer, designer, installer and O&M provider of solar and energy storage systems today announced it has received a $700,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to develop a 2 megawatt/4.2 megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery storage project with the Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD). The energy storage system will be installed at one of BELD’s substations, which will reduce energy and transmission capacity costs for BELD and its ratepayers. The project also seeks to demonstrate the ability of energy storage to enable more intermittent renewable generation and defer traditional distribution system investment in addition to advancing an innovate community storage model.
The grant was awarded as part of Governor Charlie Baker administration’s Energy Storage Initiative (ESI) Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES), funded and administered jointly by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and MassCEC. The program awarded a total of $20 million in grants to 26 projects.
“These projects represent a substantial step forward for the emerging energy storage sector in Massachusetts,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “The Commonwealth’s leadership in developing this industry will allow renewable energy sources to be harnessed to their full potential and increase the resiliency of the electrical grid.”
The first goal of the project is to reduce generation and transmission capacity charges for BELD and its ratepayers – the core monetizable economic benefits. The second goal is to demonstrate how an energy storage system with integrated solar PV on the same substation bus can reduce loading during peak hours and absorb excess solar generation during off-peak hours, helping the utility avoid traditional distribution system investments and alleviating distribution system capacity constraints.
“It is important to Braintree Electric and the residents of the Town of Braintree that we continue to be innovative and stay on the forefront of new technologies emerging in the electric utility industry. With the help of Borrego Solar this energy storage project gives us another opportunity to display our leadership role in the utility industry while doing what we can to maintain low cost and high reliability to our customers” said Bill Bottiggi the General Manager of Braintree Electric.
The core monetizable benefits of implementing battery storage will buy down the cost of the system, while the ACES grant will close the remaining economic gap and fund the demonstration components of the project. With a successful demonstration of the valuable benefits described above, combined with expected lithium-ion battery cost reductions, similar projects will be broadly replicable without subsidization by the end of the three-year grant monitoring and reporting period.
“The project will be a powerfully demonstrative example of how an energy storage system can be used to deliver a range of economic, technical, and environmental benefits, aligning it directly and strongly with the ACES Program’s mission,” said Dan Berwick, general manager of Borrego Solar’s Energy Storage Division. “We think the Baker Administration has been wise to focus so much attention on energy storage, which is a critical part of how the Commonwealth continues to integrate more clean renewables into its electricity mix. This project – along with the 25 others that were awarded ACES funding – will be a shot in the arm for our region’s energy transition, and we can’t wait to get this project up and running for BELD.”
The project will also pilot an innovative community-storage-as-a-service model to help reduce participating customers’ peak coincident charges. This is an incremental step towards subsequent customer-sited energy storage deployments within BELD’s service territory. It will distribute project risk and return by sharing some of the initial capital burden with participating customers, and by locking in a firm $/kilowatt value stream for BELD and its non-participating customers.
This is one of two Borrego Solar Systems energy storage projects that received ACES grant funding.