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Three MMWEC Members Receive State Grants for Battery Storage Projects

Ludlow, Mass.  – December 7, 2017 --  Three municipal utility members of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) are receiving state grants as part of the Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) initiative.  The utilities receiving the funding are located in the towns of Ashburnham, Wakefield and West Boylston. MMWEC applied for the grants on the utilities’ behalf. 

The ACES Program, a coordinated effort between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the state Department of Energy Resources (DOER), is a competitive grant process aimed at piloting innovative, broadly-replicable energy storage projects with multiple value streams in order to advance commercialization and deployment of energy storage technologies in Massachusetts.

A $600,000 grant to the Ashburnham Municipal Light Plant (AMLP) covers 24 percent of the utility’s $2.5 million project, which includes the installation of a 2-megawatt NEC Energy Solutions (NEC) lithium ion battery.  The battery would be used to reduce the town’s electric load and for solar buffering, which will allow for increased installation of additional renewables.  AMLP is currently ranked sixth in the United States for solar installed per customer, with over 1,000 watts installed, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance.  The utility has had to halt the installation of any new solar because of this over-saturation.  The battery storage project will help alleviate that issue, allowing for the installation of increased solar and other renewables.

 The Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department (WMGLD) will receive $800,000 in grant funding, or 25 percent of the cost of its $3.2 million project.  WMGLD is planning to install a 3-megawatt NEC lithium ion battery as part of a dual-purpose distributed generation and energy storage complex.  Located at its recently completed substation on Salem Street, it will feature conventional natural gas generation and the battery storage unit for use in reducing the town’s electric load.

West Boylston Municipal Light Plant is on the receiving end of a $243,000 grant, which covers 50 percent of the $486,000 Amber Kinetics flywheel energy storage project it has proposed.  The plan calls for a 128-kilowatt, behind-the-meter flywheel energy storage system interconnected with WBMLP’s 370-kilowatt solar project on Shrewsbury Street.  Flywheel storage technology is an innovative, chemical-free, battery storage system.  The project will be used for peak load reduction, resulting in lower transmission and capacity charges, and the creation of alternative energy portfolio standard certificates. 

“MMWEC is pleased to support its members in bringing these forward-thinking technologies to their communities,” said MMWEC Chief Executive Officer Ronald C. DeCurzio.  “This is yet another example of the ways municipal utilities are actively supporting the state’s policies to address climate change in Massachusetts.” 

In 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a two-phase, $10 million Energy Storage Initiative.  Its purpose was to advance the energy storage segment of the Massachusetts clean energy industry by expanding storage technology markets, assigning value to storage benefits, accelerating the development of storage technologies and attracting and supporting energy storage companies throughout the Commonwealth.  The first phase resulted in an energy storage study, “State of Charge,” which helped inform future policy and programs, including this solicitation of energy storage demonstration projects.  The ACES grant program is an ongoing part of the initiative.

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