Duke Energy, which has been planning a solar-plus-storage microgrid installation in Hot Springs, North Carolina, since 2017, has finally received permission to install by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC). Duke will proceed with the microgrid system that will help improve electric reliability and serve as a backup power supply to the town of more than 500 residents.
“Duke Energy’s research work on microgrids has led to a large-scale effort that will better serve, not only these customers in a remote area, but also help us gain experience from this pilot project to better serve all customers with additional distributed energy and energy storage technologies,” said Dr. Zak Kuznar, Duke Energy’s managing director of Microgrid and Energy Storage Development. “Projects like this will lead to a smarter energy future for the Carolinas.”
The Hot Springs microgrid will consist of a 2-MWac solar facility and a 4-MW lithium-based battery storage facility. The microgrid will include reliability services to the electric grid, such as frequency and voltage regulation and ramping support and capacity during system peaks.
Duke Energy will also connect a 9-MW lithium-based battery system in Asheville, North Carolina, at a Duke Energy substation site in the Rock Hill community – near Sweeten Creek Road. The battery will primarily be used to help the electric system operate more efficiently and reliably for customers.
Together, the two projects will cost around $30 million and should be operational in early 2020.
Also in the region, Duke Energy is closing a 50-year-old, coal-fired plant in Arden by January 2020 – and replacing it with a new 560-MW cleaner-burning combined-cycle natural gas plant.
News item from Duke