Duke Energy Carolinas seeks to withdraw application involving microgrid project

Duke Energy’s (NYSE:DUK) Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) on March 16 filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission a motion to withdraw its November 2016 application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for the Mt. Holly Microgrid Research and Development Solar and Battery Storage Facility (referred to as the Mt. Holly Microgrid Project) in Gaston County, N.C.

The commission, in a March 15 order, granted another DEC motion to cancel a public hearing on the matter that had been scheduled for March 21.

DEC added in its March 16 motion that as noted in its CPCN application, it originally built the Mt. Holly Microgrid Project in 2015 as a zero export solar photovoltaic (PV) electric generation facility with a battery energy storage system, and sought a CPCN to interconnect the Mt. Holly Microgrid Project to the DEC distribution system to allow for export of energy to the DEC system.

According to the CPCN application, the Mt. Holly Microgrid is a collaborative industry research and development project that includes a mix of 25 U.S., and international communications, grid control equipment and power electronics vendors, known as the Coalition of the Willing. The Mt. Holly Microgrid uses renewable resources, solar with battery storage, and is being used to demonstrate the capabilities of an “islandable” microgrid, the benefits of distributed intelligence, the interoperability between devices and across various wired and wireless data and communications platforms, as well as to develop applications to take advantage of the benefits at the edge of the energy grid.

DEC also said in its application that the Mt. Holly Microgrid has this installed equipment: a 100-kW direct current (DC) PV solar array; 250-kWh DC battery energy storage system; stand-alone 10-kW DC PV solar carport for electric vehicle charging; 500-kW automated resistive load-bank; instrumented and automated distribution grid equipment; wireless and wired communications devices; as well as an envision room with smart appliances and operations room with commercial software to monitor and control the microgrid.

Discussing need, DEC said in its application that the site is expected to facilitate the development of distributed energy resources, including batteries and solar, for commercial and residential applications, and that the facility focuses on issues that benefit DEC, as well as third-party developers and North Carolina as a whole.

“In order for DEC to be a leader in allowing solar installations throughout its territory to provide grid services that are needed today, these technologies have to be vetted for integration into the energy grid,” the company said.

DEC, in its March 16 motion, said that it has decided to withdraw its application at this time in order to fine-tune configuration of the project to best serve customers, and to further the development of distributed energy resources, including battery storage and solar integration.

“DEC anticipates seeking a CPCN for the Mt. Holly Microgrid Project once it has completed this additional work and therefore asks that its withdrawal of the CPCN application be without prejudice to refile,” the company said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3052 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.