Eversource advances Cape Cod battery project, defers 13-mile distribution line
- Eversource advanced plans to install a 25 MW / 38 MWh lithium-ion battery in Provincetown, Massachusetts, after residents approved a lease for the project last week, the utility announced on Friday.
- Provincetown, on the northern tip of Cape Cod, has faced an increasing number of power outages as climate change has caused more severe storms, according to an Eversource official. The battery will help maintain power during power outages and would defer construction on a 13-mile distribution line through the Cape Cod National Seashore.
- Eversource plans to have the battery in service by the end of next year. The utility is also working to develop a 14.9 MW facility on Martha’s Vineyard. Both projects have been approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.
The Cape Cod battery project will cost about $40 million — slightly more than the cost to build a new distribution line, utility officials say. But given the difficulty of siting a line running through the national seashore — as well as the possibility of outages on the new line — Eversource officials say the cost difference is a wash.
"The budget on the traditional distribution line is just a couple million under that, and our belief is the price could exceed that cost," Eversource Director of Clean Energy Development Charlotte Ancel told Utility Dive. "Over time, [the battery] should reduce outage costs ... if we build a redundant line we still have to send out crews if it goes out."
Because of seasonal load differences, Eversource expects the battery to provide 10 hours of back-up power in the winter and up to three hours during the peak summer season. The utility said reliability could be improved as much as 50%.
The battery will enable three towns — Provincetown, Truro and Wellfleet — to island their electric systems during an outage. Served by a single 3-phase line, residents have experienced more than 45,000 hours of outages over the last five years.
They face "substantial exposure to the Atlantic winds," said Ancel, and the situation is worsening "due to climate change and increasing storms."
The Provincetown planning board is still reviewing the project but Eversource expects to begin construction by the end of this year. The project will be located at the town's waste transfer station, said Ancel.
"The dump," said Ancel, "can be an effective place to site clean energy. ... we think it's an emerging trend, We try to think about our customers and how we can site clean energy in a place where it makes sense from a land use perspective and will be welcome."
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