Huge Battery Project Follows in Co-ops’ Footsteps

November 2019 - Tom Binet


The world’s largest battery energy storage development project has received the green light from New York’s Public Service Commission. The project reaffirms what electric cooperatives in remote areas have known for years: For those electric utilities with constrained transmission systems, investing in large-scale battery energy storage projects can save substantial amounts of money and time, and forego air pollution and unease among customers.

Ravenswood Development LLC will bring the 316 MW, 2,528 MWh system to reality in New York City in three phases, with the first 129 MW of capacity scheduled for completion in March 2021. The facility’s eight-hour storage capacity will make the completed system the world’s largest and should alleviate some of New York City’s electricity price spikes and reliability issues.

In addition, since the project’s batteries will charge with power from New York’s grid, its output will become less and less emissions intensive as the state approaches its goal of getting 50% of its power from renewables by 2030.

The rationale behind New York’s new battery energy storage project mirrors that of similar installations by electric cooperatives in rural Alaska, Minnesota, California, Hawaii, and Vermont, among others. Co-ops in these states have demonstrated that battery energy storage facilities can be the most economically-efficient alternative to upgrading transmission systems and to adding new power generating resources. Co-ops such as Golden Valley Electric Association, Kodiak Electric, Cordova Electric, Connexus Energy, and Vermont Electric are all using their respective batteries to save customers money, enhance reliability, and prove a new resource investment thesis at the same time – exemplifying the thought leadership and pioneering spirit of America’s electric co-ops.