Energy storage project aims to help stabilize Vermont’s electric power grid

Done correctly, and with enough of it, energy storage could be the hero of many grids as the energy transition drives the adoption of more variable resources powered by the wind and the sun. Grid operators stress how important it is for dispatchable generation to help keep the grid in balance when other forms of generation ramp up and down quickly in response to the elements.

In New England, the situation is particularly dire, as was explained by ISO New England in a recent problem statement that kicked off a FERC forum in the region on September 8.

Now, a new energy storage project in Vermont could help. Clean energy developer Agilitas Energy announced September 14 that its energy storage project in Bristol, Vermont is ready for construction. The project is contracted with a local utility to bring enhanced resiliency to its energy customers and the grid.

This is Agilitas Energy’s first project in Vermont and is part of what the company says will be the first generation of large storage systems in Vermont. The project will add 3MW/6MWh of energy storage capacity to help better balance demand on Vermont’s grid. This load management is part of the utility’s grid modernization initiatives to increase energy resiliency for Vermont communities while driving down costs and enabling more cost-effective, local renewable power, said Agilitas in a press release.

“Higher demand for electricity, rising costs and climate change all negatively impact consumers in a way that wasn’t true even a few years ago. It’s encouraging that forward-thinking utilities are taking the necessary steps to address these concerns for their customers,” said Barrett Bilotta, President of Agilitas Energy. “By turning to energy storage—a solution we believe is paramount when talking about cost-effective energy—the benefits are shared among customers, the grid and the energy transition, all at the same time.”

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The project is expected to reach commercial operation in late 2023, at which time it will provide peak-demand reduction capacity to the grid and participate in ISO-New England markets. The battery storage system will charge from the grid when there is excess energy and demand is minimal, and then provide critical supply to the grid when demand is highest and stresses on the regional power supply are greatest.

The Bristol, Vermont project is the latest in a series of Agilitas Energy’s energy storage projects, including the commission of the largest storage system in Rhode Island last month. The company is actively constructing and developing several other stand-alone battery storage systems, as well as some coupled with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, it said.

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Author: Jennifer Runyon

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