N.H. Electric Co-op turns on state’s first large battery-storage facility

  • The battery facility at the NHEC solar farm in Moultonborough. NH Electric Cooperative

Monitor staff
Published: 5/17/2021 4:57:15 PM

The first large standalone battery-storage facility in New Hampshire has been turned on by the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative alongside its solar farm in Moultonborough.

The 2.45-megawatt battery project, the largest in the state, was developed in partnership with Engie, the North American arm of a French energy firm. Engie will own and operate the unit, which will charge from NHEC’s distribution system during times of low demand and discharge during peak regional electricity use. This will save the cooperative money on delivery charges while reducing demand on the grid.

Increasing the ability to store electricity is seen as a necessary part of changing the world’s electric system over to renewables like solar and wind, which can’t always produce power on demand.

NHEC said the system is housed in a pre-fabricated 40-foot container located within the fence line of NHEC’s solar farm. It has on-site fire suppression equipment and will be monitored 24 hours a day, year-round. Fire suppression is important because a proposal for a battery facility in Littleton was withdrawn in 2019 following concern from the fire chief about explosions.

NHEC estimates electricity discharges from the batteries will save its members $2.3 million over the next 12 years.

“Energy storage is a rapidly evolving technology that has a key place in our strategic vision for our business model of the future. It’s important for NHEC to gain firsthand experience with batteries,” said Steve Camerino, President and CEO of NHEC, in a released statement.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog granitegeek.org, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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