NEC Energy Solutions has begun the installation and commissioning of a 2 MW, 3.9MWh GSS® grid energy storage solution for the Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) in Sterling, Massachusetts. Once complete in December 2016, it will be the largest system of its kind installed in New England and the first utility scale project in the State. In the event of an extended grid outage due to a natural disaster, this utility scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) can be used to power local emergency response facilities using power generated from two nearby solar plants. The system will also provide enhanced clean energy usage and cost savings to the town of Sterling.

Sandia provided SMLD with analysis to identify the optimal deployment site, amount, and installation type of energy storage within budgetary limits. Sandia also assisted with crafting a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the BESS system, vetting bids, and installing and dispatching the system. “Sandia was instrumental in helping us pull that together. We had developed a minor RFP and they brought in the technical support that we needed to get this done right. Working with Dan Borneo and Ray Byrne on this project has been very valuable to us,” said Sean Hamilton, General Manager of SMLD.

Going forward, Sandia will help SMLD oversee the operation of the BESS to optimally maximize economic returns while safeguarding SMLD’s ability to provide resilient power; monitor BESS operations; and collect operational data for one-year post-commissioning. The data will be used to further the U.S. Department of Energy’s/Sandia’s understanding of the benefits and applications of battery storage in the utility context and provide a number of important battery use cases in resiliency, cost savings, and revenues that can be adopted by numerous municipal utilities and vertically integrated utilities.

The project was funded in part by a $1.46M grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), with additional financial and technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity (DOE-OE) under the direction of Dr. Imre Gyuk, and Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) under the leadership of Dan Borneo. Additional technical support was provided by Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) through its Energy Storage Technology Advancement Partnership (ESTAP), and by Clean Energy Group’s Resilient Power Project through a generous grant from the Barr Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Business Wire: Representatives from the Town of Sterling, the State of Massachusetts, U.S. Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, Clean Energy States Alliance, and NEC Energy Solutions attended the groundbreaking ceremony on October 13, 2016.