Julian Spector, GreenTech Media
Duke Energy has promised major investment in energy storage for its Carolina territory. It took another step toward substantiating that promise by designing a battery project to back up a South Carolina community center.
The 5-megawatt/5-megawatt-hour project, announced Monday, does not stand out among the much larger projects underway elsewhere in the country. Its significance lies instead in illustrating how a regulated utility builds up proficiency in battery storage. Many utilities now acknowledge storage will provide great value to the grid, but few have built it at scale.
The first step is accepting the body of evidence that quantifies the usefulness of storage for things like renewables integration, deferring wires infrastructure upgrades, delivering peak capacity and rapidly modulating frequency and power quality.
Duke took that step in a big way, deciding in its 15-year resource plan that 300 megawatts of storage, and possibly even more, would benefit customers. The public has little recognition of megawatt capacity, but the company helpfully translated that into a rough estimate of cold, hard cash: $500 million.