Duke Energy is investing $30 million to install two battery storage systems in North Carolina in what the company says are the first large-scale energy storage projects built by its regulated utility business.
Duke plans to install a 9 MW lithium-ion battery system at a Duke substation in the Rock Hill community near Sweeten Creek Road in Asheville.
- In Hot Springs, Madison County, Duke plans to install a 4 MW li-ion battery system and is considering a solar facility in the town that would work in conjunction.
On the unregulated side of its business, Duke has built a 36 MW storage system at its Notrees wind farm in Texas, but until now, its regulated utility business has not embraced large-scale energy storage.
But as spokesman Randy Wheeless recently told Utility Dive, “Battery technology has matured, and we are ready to take the next step. We can go to regulators and say this makes economic sense.”
The two new North Carolina storage projects are part of Duke’s Western Carolinas Modernization Plan. As part of that effort, Duke worked with the Energy Innovation Task Force (EITF), a group of regional stakeholders in Asheville and Buncombe County looking for ways to take advantage of emerging technologies such as energy storage to better serve the region.
Duke says the two North Carolina projects are the first of a larger plan the company has to deploy energy storage in the region.
The Asheville storage project will be used to provide energy support to the grid by supplying frequency regulation and other services.
Details on the new North Carolina projects will be filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission in early 2018 and are expected to be online in 2019. Earlier this year, Duke brought online a 95 kWh zinc-air battery and 10 kW solar farm installation as part of a microgrid to power a communications tower on Mount Sterling in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
"These initial utility-scale energy storage projects represent an integral first step in upgrading and modernizing our grid infrastructure,” Ned Ryan Doyle, co-chair of the EITF Technology Working Group, said in a statement.