FERC amends two hydro operating licenses to include battery storage systems

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order on March 24 amending the operating licenses for two hydro projects, owned by Great Lakes Hydro America LLC, to include battery storage systems.

The two projects are the 38-MW Ripogenus Hydroelectric Project on the West Branch of the Penobscot River and the 70.809-MW Penobscot Mills Hydroelectric Project on the West Branch of the Penobscot River and Millinocket Stream, both in Maine.

In January, Great Lakes Hydro America, LLC requested FERC authorization to construct and maintain two separate battery storage systems on lands partially inside the project boundary of each project. Each system would be sized to store 20 MWh of electricity generated by the hydroelectric facilities. One battery system would be installed at the Millinocket Substation No. 4 partially within the project boundary of the Ripogenus and Penobscot Mills Projects, and the other battery system would be installed at the Powersville Substation, partially within the project boundary of the Penobscot Mills Project.

Each battery system would result in an expansion of an existing substation to occupy an area measuring about 192 feet by 117 feet (Substation No. 4) and 150 feet by 150 feet (Powersville Substation). The battery systems would be connected to the project transmission line and would collect power from the projects at 34.5 kV and deliver it to the grid at 115 kV. The battery systems would be connected to the substations by a switch that could isolate the battery systems from the substations at any time.

In its order, FERC says the proposed battery storage systems appear to be an innovative approach to storing hydroelectric power and may provide benefits to the interstate electric grid.  Because these facilities will play a part in the transmission of hydropower from the projects to the grid, they will be used and useful in connection with the two projects, and accordingly are required to be licensed.

FERC thus approved Great Lakes Hydro America’s request and said that within 90 days of completing construction of the battery systems, the company must file for FERC approval revised Exhibits A, F and G to reflect the installation of the battery systems as built. The licensee must revise the Exhibit G drawings to include the battery systems within the project boundary.

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