National Grid plans to install a 48 MWh battery energy storage system on Nantucket, Massachusetts, to help address some of the island’s unique energy challenges.
National Grid plans to install a new backup diesel generator on the island and augment with a 6 MW battery system from Tesla.
Nantucket is experiencing strong electricity demand growth, but is dependent on two submarine cables the run to the mainland, and this project will help bolster its emergency backup power and address the growing demand for power.
Island locations have frequently been mentioned as one of the best locations for energy storage, since they frequently rely on costly and polluting diesel plants to supply their electricity. In Nantucket’s case, two diesel generators provide backup generation should one of the two submarine power cables to the mainland fail.
National Grid says the diesel generators are nearing the end of their useful lives, and estimates the island will need a third cable to the mainland in about 12 years. So the utility's solution is to build add on a single new diesel generator and back it up with a battery storage system. The battery energy storage system (BESS) can provide backup power for short power interruptions, and the generator can recharge the batteries if necessary.
“The BESS provides a very efficient and effective solution to two major energy challenges facing the island,” Rudy Wynter, president and COO of National Grid’s regulated businesses, said in a statement.
It's is also yet another battery storage demonstration for Tesla. The electric vehicle manufacturer has been heavily involved in high-profile storage projects on islands, the latest being a solar-plus-storage microgrid project in Puerto Rico, which was battered by Hurricane Maria more than a month ago.