Installed battery storage capacity is expected to grow significantly in the USA alongside the expansion of renewable energy use. Battery storage is a key enabling technology for accelerating the adoption of variable renewables such as wind and solar. Battery storage’s vital role in the transition to renewable energy systems is due to the fact that it can provide grid stability and flexibility, storing energy in the face of intermittent generation and then releasing it as needed.
JERA Americas, a subsidiary of JERA Corporation, and Zenobē Americas, a subsidiary of Zenobē Energy Limited (“Zenobē”), a leading EV fleet and battery storage specialist in the United Kingdom, have identified New York and New England as promising markets for the development of their battery business. These areas have set battery deployment targets, which is a key factor. For example, New York has a target of 6 GW of storage by 2030. JERA and Zenobē will now jointly explore battery storage projects in the two northeastern US power markets.
The region also hosts thermal power facilities owned by JERA Americas, which are connected to the electric power system. JERA Americas recently closed on its acquisition of a 1,633 megawatt (MW) thermal power portfolio in New England: Canal 1 (566 MW), Canal 2 (559 MW), and Canal 3 (333 MW) in Sandwich, Mass., and Bucksport (175 MW) in Bucksport, Maine. JERA says that Canal, with its location on Cape Cod, can serve as a critical site for enabling offshore wind using existing infrastructure. Bucksport, with its existing transmission interconnection, can also serve as a link for renewables to connect with the electric grid.
“Using existing large-scale power projects that do not require construction of new power transmission networks is an important part of aiding a clean transformation in New England,” said Steven Winn, JERA Americas Chief Executive Officer. “We are committed to transitioning the existing units to greener forms of energy as well as employing the attributes of the sites to enable renewable energy development in New England.”
JERA Americas and Zenobē Americas will jointly discuss the development of battery storage projects in New York State and New England, including stand-alone storage and co-located with renewable energy sources, to support the expansion of renewable energy deployment. The two companies will conduct a study on the applicability of the large-scale battery business including JERA Americas’ facilities in these regions and other areas.
Making use of existing infrastructure around large legacy power plants to enable the integration of renewables and battery infrastructure is an interesting model and could be a key pathway to accelerate decarbonization around the world. For example, in South Africa, Eskom is planning to decommission almost 30 GW of its old coal power fleet in the next couple of decades. This is a model that has also been discussed in South Africa, where existing infrastructure and the vast land around some of those sites could be repurposed to enable the integration of renewables and battery storage. Zimbabwe’s aging small thermal power plants also come to mind and using the infrastructure to incorporate battery storage as well as large PV plants where space may allow such as near Munyati power station should be explored.
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