NEC Energy Solutions provides battery system to Massachusetts town

NEC Energy Solutions (NEC ES), a subsidiary of NEC Corp., on Oct. 12 announced that it is supplying the Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) of Sterling, Mass., with a 2-MW, 3.9-MWh GSS grid energy storage solution.

Once complete in December of this year, it will be the largest battery-based energy storage system installed in New England and the first utility-scale project in Massachusetts, NEC said. It will improve grid resiliency against weather-related power outages, while providing enhanced clean energy usage and cost savings to the town of Sterling. Town, State and NEC ES officials commemorated the project on Oct. 12 in an official groundbreaking ceremony.

To reduce Sterling’s carbon footprint, SMLD has been installing large amounts of photovoltaic (PV) solar. However, SMLD desired greater resiliency and further modernization of its grid. The energy storage system will work in conjunction with the installed base of PV solar to provide the needed energy resiliency, particularly to critical town departments such as police, dispatch and fire service. It will also provide transmission capacity charge savings from reducing peak demand, which will deliver energy cost saving benefits to the community.

NEC ES is providing its turn-key GSS energy storage solution which includes a single container housing 3.9-MWh of lithium ion batteries, a 2-MW power conversion system, and proprietary NEC ES AEROS controls software suite. NEC ES will also provide service and maintenance packages to SMLD for the GSS energy storage installation.

The project was funded in part by a $1.46 million grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, with additional financial and technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity and Sandia National Laboratories. Additional technical support was provided by Clean Energy States Alliance through its Energy Storage Technology Advancement Partnership, and by Clean Energy Group’s Resilient Power Project through a grant from the Barr Foundation.

“Energy storage technologies, especially when paired with renewable energy, have the potential to be a game changer for Massachusetts, helping to lower the cost of energy to ratepayers while reducing emissions.” said Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. ”DOER’s Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative, through which this project received funding, is a testament to the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to embracing innovative clean energy solutions across the Commonwealth.”

“We’re pleased to have chosen NEC Energy Solutions for this project because they made energy storage easy,” said Sean Hamilton, General Manager, Sterling Municipal Light Department. “Their expertise and knowledge, combined with years of global energy storage experience helped us achieve our combined goals of resiliency and cost savings using the right configuration and amount of energy storage to help strengthen and modernize our electricity system.”

“This project is the largest of its kind in New England and represents our ongoing commitment to deliver comprehensive, safe, and reliable energy storage solutions whether located across the globe, or like this one, in our own backyard,” said Bud Collins, CEO of NEC Energy Solutions.

NEC Energy Solutions develops and manufactures smart energy storage solutions for electric grid, backup power and lead‐acid replacement applications with system integration expertise focusing on high performance, efficiency, safety and reliability. Products range from massive grid‐scale energy storage systems, successfully operating in commercial revenue service since 2009, to commercial and specialty battery solutions to fit the needs of telecom, datacenter, medical and other industrial applications.

The SMLD is a progressive public power utility located near Worcester, Massachusetts, in the Town of Sterling. SMLD has more than 3,700 residential, commercial, municipal and industrial customers. SMLD customers are fed power through approximately 160 miles of distribution lines. The SMLD is a member of ISO New England and a wholesale aggregator of power with power purchases from generation throughout New England and New York.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.