Cooperatives are integrating utility-scale battery energy storage to complement the growing number of innovative energy resources coordinated across the cooperative network. Located at substations, microgrids, and solar + storage sites throughout the state, battery energy storage systems provide many benefits to co-op consumer-members and communities as cooperatives evolve their grids and enhance their services as part of their Brighter Future vision.
Adding battery energy storage builds flexibility into the electric grid, enabling cooperatives to deploy solar, renewables and distributed energy resources in a way that optimizes their performance. This enables cooperatives to ensure that electricity supply is perfectly in balance with demand – an important requirement to ensure that electricity stays reliable. Batteries also improve the efficiency of the grid, providing value to members, and are expected to provide cost savings over their lifetime. Because cooperatives are not-for-profit, at-cost energy providers, co-op members will benefit from those savings.
In most cases, cooperatives charge batteries when demand for electricity is low, and flow that energy onto the system when demand for energy is highest. This reduction in power load provides value to cooperative members, and cooperatives expect that sophisticated energy management to balance energy supply with demand will become increasingly important as the grid continues evolves. Battery technology will continue to be a part of the Brighter Future cooperative commitment to net-zero carbon by 2050.
“Energy storage technology enables North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives to enhance reliability and achieve cost savings that will benefit our consumer-members in rural North Carolina, now and in the years to come. Cooperatives remain committed to innovation that advances our Brighter Future vision for electricity that is increasingly sustainable, affordable and reliable, and supports our goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.” – Amadou Fall, chief operating officer of North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives
Electric cooperatives installed cutting-edge battery energy storage technology across rural North Carolina in 2022, siting batteries at 10 electric cooperative substations. These local energy resources provide 40 MWs of power collectively and contribute enhanced grid infrastructure resilience and reliability for co-op consumer-members. The batteries will be located at or near:
- Bolivia, N.C. with Brunswick Electric
- Maysville, N.C. with Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative
- Lillington, N.C. with Central Electric
- Rocky Point, N.C. with Four County EMC
- Hubert, N.C. with Jones-Onslow EMC
- Rockingham, N.C. with Pee Dee Electric
- Asheboro, N.C. with Randolph EMC
- Fayetteville, N.C. with South River EMC
- Goldsboro, N.C. with Tri-County EMC
- Wake Forest, N.C. with Wake Electric
The substation batteries complement a growing collection of distributed energy resources, which cooperatives are integrating into the grid and deploying at scale. As a ‘distribution operator,’ North Carolina’s electric cooperatives can manage resources across the state collectively to maximize benefits, including greater visibility across the system, optimized operation for enhanced grid resilience and increased reliability.
Battery technology will continue to be a part of the cooperatives commitment to evolve grid, enhance service and value for members, and build a brighter future for our state.