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Energy Storage Issues In North Carolina: Key Barriers Identified

Recently, a report was published by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association about barriers to the development of more energy storage in the United States and in North Carolina.


One of the key barriers to developing more energy storage in North Carolina is the lack of a market for third-party ancillary services. Without this, one of the other main barriers — measuring and monetizing value — will probably be very difficult to overcome. Battery storage can provide a number of services, but if they aren’t used fully in enough real-world situations, you can’t measure their value, and therefore monetizing their value is challenging.

If you would like to read more about these barriers for North Carolina and the country, you can read the full report.

It’s author, Peter Ledford, Regulatory Counsel for NCSEA, generously answered some questions for CleanTechnica related to it.

North Carolina had utility-scale batteries installed in the 1980s. Where were they? What were they used for?

The Crescent Electric Membership Corporation (now EnergyUnited) installed a utility-scale battery in Statesville, NC in the 1980s that was used to reduce peak demand and demand charges for electricity purchased from Duke Energy.

Are there energy storage companies currently in North Carolina and are they startups or more established companies?

Alevo (Concord), ABB (Cary), Celgard (Concord).

What can be done in N.C. to make it easier to install batteries both for residents and business owners?

Nothing prohibits, but nothing incents growth either. NC’s existing rate structures don’t typically feature demand charges or high peak rates, which residents and businesses typically use batteries to avoid. NC’s REITC is expiring; when paired with rooftop solar, residential batteries are/were eligible for the REITC.

How can you get utilities and regulators to accept energy storage as a viable technology?

Utilities are already on board; Duke Energy owns one of the largest battery storage projects in the world (Notrees Wind Farm, Texas) and its regulated utilities have installed numerous pilot projects in North Carolina.

Successes in other states and declining prices will ultimately lead North Carolina is a regional clean energy leader, so it would seem poised to adopt energy storage as well — is this true?

If the regulatory and policy barriers in our report are addressed, then yes – there is great potential.

How many energy storage installations are there currently in the state, and what are they used for?

Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress, together, have at least 5 pilot projects in the State. Additional large projects are listed on the DOE’s Global Energy Storage Database, although residential storage projects are not captured in the DOE database.

Could energy storage hasten solar power adoption, since it helps solve the intermittency problem?

NC has been a leader in solar energy without batteries and our grid is capable of accommodating even more intermittent resources as-is; but battery storage can only improve the performance of solar and other intermittent resources as they come on line in North Carolina.

Are utilities expressing interest in energy storage or is it coming more from consumers or both?

In North Carolina, Duke and Dominion both have pilot projects that utilize storage.

Image Credit: jmturner, Wiki Commons

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