RALEIGH, NC – North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, the power supplier and trade association serving 26 not-for-profit cooperative utilities that collectively power 2.5 million North Carolinians, will use a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to explore improved grid resilience and reliability through long-duration energy storage.
The selected project is a partnership with North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, the National Renewables Cooperative Organization (NRCO), and four other electric cooperatives from across the country with a shared goal of bringing cutting-edge, long-duration energy storage opportunities to rural communities.
“We applied for this grant to support our Brighter Future vision of providing reliable, affordable and sustainable power to the communities we serve,” said Jimmy Wilkins, vice president of energy portfolio for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “While this selection for federal funding is a win for North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, it’s a major win for the members who rely on cooperatives to help power their lives.”
North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives will locate the battery storage project within its existing Hamlet Generating Facility in Richmond County. This facility is one of two natural gas peak generating plants owned by the cooperatives to support reliability and deployed at times of high demand, like during extreme weather events – the hottest days of summer, the coldest nights of winter.
By adding long-duration energy storage, which is capable of discharging 700 kilowatts to 3.6 megawatts of electricity for up to 20 hours, to an existing peak generating facility, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives can pilot the battery’s capability for augmenting capacity from the generating plant to further support reliability during high demand situations.
“We are excited to partner with the DOE to demonstrate the capabilities of vanadium flow batteries (VFBs) in rural communities,” said Mike Keyser, CEO for NRCO. “Electric cooperatives are energy innovators that play an integral role in the communities they serve. The five sites that have been selected are national leaders and will help demonstrate to other utilities across the U.S. the many beneficial uses for long-duration energy storage.”
About the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Clean Energy Demonstration Grant
As indicated in the DOE’s announcement on Friday, the $325 million will fund 15 projects across 17 states and one tribal nation to accelerate the development of long-duration energy storage technologies. The current estimated commercial operation date for the North Carolina project is 2028, with the project entering phase one of development upon completion of standard award negotiations with the DOE. More information on the NRCO-led project and VFBs can be found in the NRCO announcement.
About North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives
North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives is the family of organizations supporting the state’s 26 distribution electric cooperatives that collectively power 45% of the state’s land mass and serve 2.5 million North Carolinians. The family of organizations include the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives, the trade association, and the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, the wholesale power supplier. For more information, please visit ncelectriccooperatives.com.
Name: Townley Venters