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The promise of energy storage in Massachusetts is beginning to materialize on the tip of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard.
Eversource expects to start construction by year's end on two of the largest utility battery storage projects in the country and hopes to have both projects up and running by the end of 2020.
A 25 megawatt, lithium-ion battery system, to be located in a Cape-style building in Provincetown, is being designed to provide backup power for customers in Provincetown, Truro and Wellfleet during an outage on the distribution line that runs along Route 6. Provincetown residents last week voted unanimously to approve a lease for Eversource to operate the battery storage project at the town transfer station.
"This project will be a great benefit to rural communities like ours. Eversource estimates this project will eliminate roughly half of our power outages entirely, and when it can't it will provide precious hours to prepare for an extended interruption," Provincetown Town Manager David Panagore said in a statement.
The so-called community battery will also defer the need to run 13 miles of distribution line, according to Eversource, and is designed to provide 10 hours of backup power in the winter and as much as three hours during the summer, when tourists flood the area.
The second project, a nearly 15 megawatt facility on Martha's Vineyard, has also received approval from the state Department of Public Utilities.
Eversource Director of Clean Energy Development Charlotte Ancel said the Provincetown project is "a strong example of how clean energy transformation can help enhance system resiliency and reflects our commitment to serve as a clean energy catalyst for the region and an environmental steward for our customers."
Under a law approved last summer, the state established an energy storage target of 1,000 megawatt hours to be achieved by Dec. 31, 2025 and required electric distribution companies to start submitting reports this year to alert the state to energy storage installations in their service territory.
"Batteries are key to extending the life of clean energy and we want to see that battery sector really grow," Sen. Michael Barrett, who led the negotiations for the Senate, told the News Service last July, as the bill was receiving its final votes. "So this is a major job-creation piece."
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