Electric Co-ops To Deploy Batteries Across Rural NC - Carolina Country

Electric Co-ops To Deploy Batteries Across Rural NC

Energy storage will enhance grid resilience, reliability

Electric Co-ops To Deploy Batteries Across Rural NC

Utility-scale batteries at a Minneapolis substation. Photo courtesy of FlexGen.

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives are planning to install utility scale batteries in 10 communities across rural North Carolina.

Utility scale energy storage can help make power grids more resilient and reliable. Thanks to advances in technology, these rechargeable batteries are becoming more affordable with larger capacities. The batteries being deployed across NC will be sited at electric cooperative substations, adding local energy resources in communities for enhanced grid resilience and reliability for co-op members.

Battery storage map

The batteries will be located at sites served by Brunswick Electric, Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative, Central Electric, Four County EMC, Jones-Onslow EMC, Pee Dee Electric, Randolph EMC, South River EMC, Tri-County EMC and Wake Electric.

“Energy storage technology enables North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives to enhance reliability and achieve cost savings that will benefit our consumer-members in rural North Carolina, now and in the years to come,” said Amadou Fall, COO at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “Cooperatives remain committed to innovation that advances our Brighter Future vision for electricity that is increasingly sustainable, affordable and reliable, and supports our goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Collectively, the 10 energy storage projects — utilizing lithium iron phosphate batteries (a type of lithium-ion battery) — will provide 40 megawatts (MW) of power, and will be charged when demand for electricity is low and discharged during moments of peak demand. This not only enhances electric reliability but is expected to provide cost savings over the lifetime of the batteries. Because cooperatives are not-for-profit, at-cost energy providers, co-op members will benefit from those savings.

Battery installations began in early 2022, with activations anticipated in the summer. The batteries, engineered and constructed by North Carolina-based FlexGen, complement a growing number of distributed energy resources that co-ops are managing to improve reliability, affordability and sustainability across the grid (see “Boosting Reliability Through Grid Management,” August 2021, page 10).

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