Governor McKee, Pascoag Utility District Announce the Opening of Rhode Island’s First Utility Scale Battery Storage System
BURRILLVILLE, RI – Governor Dan McKee, Pascoag Utility District (PUD) and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) today announced the official opening of Rhode Island’s first utility scale battery storage facility. The PUD had this battery storage system installed to provide increased reliability for its 5,000 customers during peak electricity demand days.
“I am proud to announce that Rhode Island continues its leadership on clean energy innovation by installing the state’s first utility-scale battery storage system,” said Governor McKee. “This battery technology, which allows for the storage of energy and deploys it when it is most needed, is a vital link in our state’s transition to a 100 percent clean electricity grid by 2033. Pascoag is setting a great example for others to follow.”
“Rhode Island deserves energy that relies on our state’s natural beauty, not energy that destroys it. These new batteries are a step towards ensuring that every community, from Pascoag to Providence, has access to clean, green energy,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “I’m hopeful that we can continue leveraging our state’s resources to build a more resilient and renewable power grid.”
Renewable energy relies on intermittent technology, which means that it is limited to generating power when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Battery storage makes it possible to save the energy generated by renewable energy and use it during peak electricity demand times, such as during hot days of the summer or when commuters return home at night to power on their appliances and other electronics.
Batteries may be installed on the grid, as is the case here with the Pascoag Utility District. At a grid-scale, energy storage may lower congestion and stress on the electric grid by managing the amount of electricity on the grid at one time. This can reduce the need for the utility company to install or upgrade poles and wires to meet an area’s growing energy demand. This results in avoided infrastructure costs which saves money for ratepayers in the long term. Batteries may also be installed in homes and buildings to provide auxiliary or emergency power when needed.
“The collaboration of our partners on this project was amazing,” said Mike Kirkwood, General Manager of Pascoag Utility District. “We could not have done this without the leadership of the Governor, and the help from the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank and Agilitas Energy. This project allowed us to save up to $12 million dollars for our customers by avoiding a costly rebuilding of transmission infrastructure.”
“The Office of Energy Resources is proud to be a partner in this battery storage development, by providing technical assistance and a grant from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Program,” said Interim State Energy Commissioner Christopher Kearns. “The Pascoag Utility District was an ideal candidate for the installation of a grid scale energy storage system. This development will make it possible to store more of the clean energy that is coming online each year, as our state presses forward with our Act on Climate goals.”
PUD received a grant of $250,000 from OER. The PUD substation work was funded by an $1.4 million loan from the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank approved by OER through the state’s Efficient Building Fund program. By installing the battery system, PUD was able to avoid paying up to $12 million in grid infrastructure upgrades.
“The Pascoag Utility District is leading the way with this first in Rhode Island utility scale battery storage facility that will improve reliability for their customers during peak demand periods,” said Jeffrey Diehl, CEO of Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. “Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank is proud to have made this innovate project more affordable by providing below market rate financing via a $1.4 million loan through the Efficient Buildings Fund.”
Agilitas Energy installed and currently operates the 3 MW battery facility from a leased industrial site in Pascoag. The battery energy storage system went into commercial operation on July 7, 2022 and has already begun to help PUD lower its peak load during times of highest usage.