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New York's First State-Owned Utility-Scale Energy Storage System Now in Operation

Aug. 29, 2023
The 20 MW energy storage project enables renewable energy growth and relieves transmission constraints.

New York’s first state-owned utility-scale battery energy storage project is now operating in the North Country’s Franklin County.

The 20-MW facility installed and operated by the New York Power Authority connects into the state’s electric grid, helping to relieve transmission congestion and pave the way for the utility industry and the private sector to better understand how to integrate more clean energy into the power system, especially during times of peak demand.

The Northern New York Energy Storage Project will serve as a model for future storage systems and create a more reliable and resilient power supply in a region heavily powered by renewable energy. The project also will help accelerate the state’s aggressive target to install 6,000 MW of energy storage by 2030. 

“Deploying energy storage technologies make our power supply more reliable and resilient, further enabling New York to build a robust clean energy grid,” Governor Hochul said. “The completion of the Northern New York Energy Storage project marks an important step to reaching New York's energy storage and climate goals."

The project, located in Chateaugay, about 40 miles northwest of Plattsburgh, is the Power Authority’s first utility-scale battery project and the first one built by New York State. The facility, maintained and operated by the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, consists of five 53-ft walk-in enclosures, each with more than 19,500 batteries grouped in modules and stacked in racks. Each container pulls in and can disperse 4 MW of power, enough to power roughly 3,000 homes.  

The Northern New York Energy Storage Project is strategically located in a region that generates more than 80 percent of its electricity supply from renewable resources, including the Power Authority’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, which generates more than 800 MW of hydropower, and more than 650 MW of wind generation. 

New York Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll says, "This is a first-of-its-kind project for the Power Authority and with it we are breaking new ground as we actively help lead New York State’s decarbonization efforts. By demonstrating large-scale battery development and operation, we are showing our ability to execute forward-thinking strategies and new technologies. The Northern New York Energy Storage Project will help New York achieve its aggressive climate goals and ensure that 70 percent of the state's electricity supply comes from renewables by 2030. This project is a reliability and resiliency energy storage trendsetter that will be a model for others to follow.”  

The energy storage facility balances power demand by capturing any excess generation, storing it, and discharging it into the grid during times of peak demand, typically on hot summer days or cold winter nights. The energy storage system will supply the New York wholesale energy and ancillary service markets and will contribute to more economical and reliable electric power in New York. 

Due to the intermittent nature of wind generation, the excess energy needs to be captured when the wind is blowing so it can be dispersed when there is no generation. Having the capability to store renewable energy for delivery during times of high demand will help eliminate the transmission constraints that often prevent the energy from being distributed throughout the statewide grid. 

The system also includes inverters, transformers, a control house, and back-up generator, all connected to the Willis substation, located north of the project. The project, which provides 20 MW of power utilizing a lithium-ion battery system, was constructed by O’Connell Electric Company, Inc., of Victor, N.Y. 

Advancing energy storage at scale is critical to meeting the State’s Climate Act goals and to ensure the safety and security of energy storage systems across the state, Governor Hochul announced the creation of a new Inter-Agency Fire Safety Working Group. While fires at energy storage facilities are rare, the Governor has directed the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Fire Prevention and Control, NYSERDA, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Public Service, New York Power Authority, and the Department of State to lead the Working Group to independently examine energy storage facility fires and safety standards.  

NYPA’s engineers were involved with the planning, development and permitting of the project and the project team met with local fire departments for training on the battery storage technology used at the facility. NYPA’s engineers have ensured that the Northern New York Energy Storage Project met all fire safety and permitting requirements. NYPA is also testing other types of battery technology, such as advanced lithium-ion and zinc-air technologies, that demonstrate a reduction in the potential for thermal runaway, the most common cause of energy storage fires.  

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