"Duke Energy is at the forefront of battery energy storage, and our investment could increase as we identify projects that deliver benefits to our customers," said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology. "Utility-owned and operated projects in North Carolina and South Carolina will include a variety of system benefits that will help improve reliability for our customers and provide significant energy grid support for the region."
In the company's recent Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), Duke Energy outlined plans for battery storage projects in the Carolinas equal to about 300 MW of capacity. Combining battery storage from all utilities, North Carolina has only about 15 MW of battery storage capacity in operation, and far less in South Carolina.
As the grid operator, Duke Energy can maximize the versatility of storage beyond storing and dispatching of energy to include other customer and system benefits such as system balancing and deferral of traditional grid upgrades.
This week, the company filed for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a solar facility in the Hot Springs community of Madison County as part of a microgrid project.
The Hot Springs Microgrid project will consist of a 2-MW (AC) solar facility and a 4-MW lithium-based battery storage facility. The microgrid will provide a safe, cost-effective and reliable grid solution for serving the Hot Springs area, and provide energy and grid support to all customers. The project will defer ongoing maintenance of an existing distribution power line that serves the remote town.
The Hot Springs project is part Duke Energy's Western Carolinas Modernization Project. It includes closing a half-century-old, coal-fired power plant in Asheville in 2019. The plant will be replaced with a cleaner natural gas-fired plant and distributed energy resources like solar power and battery storage.