Plus Power to Build Two Mega Battery Power Plants in New England

Battery storage system provider, San Fransisco based Plus Power has won the two biggest bids in the latest capacity auction held by the New England’s International Organization for Standardization (ISO). England ISO operates the transmission grid and competitive power markets in six Northeastern states.

Plus Power focuses on standalone battery energy storage systems that foster grid flexibility by providing capacity, energy, and ancillary services as more renewable generation enters wholesale energy markets. The company after winning the bid is now moving ahead to build two plants. A 150-megawatt/300-megawatt-hour system near a cranberry bog south of Boston, Massachusetts, and another 175-megawatt/350-megawatt-hour battery in Gorham, Maine. The seven-year capacity contracts start in June 2024.

New England has always seen a build-out of smaller batteries but, this time Largest standalone battery plant is going to be build up New England’s capacity market. 

Speaking on their achievement, General Manager of Plus Power, Brandon Keefe stated, “There’s no mandate, there’s no emergency procurement, there’s no grant program. In that light, the company’s capacity market wins represent the market working and storage winning.”

Interestingly, these two battery power plats are strategically located as, for the Cranberry Point project in the town of Carver, Keefe told, “It sits near a major substation, which allows for shipping its electricity out to the greater Boston area. It also happens to be “strategically located” in the same grid zone as the Mystic Generating Station, a legacy gas plant in Boston.”

However, owner Exelon plans to shut down several generating units there between now and 2024, he added. 

Cranberry Point will replace nearly 10 percent of Mystic’s peak capacity and will do so without emitting any local pollution. As such, it is likely to qualify for Massachusetts’ Clean Peak Standard, though Plus Power developed the business model independent of that policy, Keefe remarked.

According to Brandon Keefe, Plus Power chose both locations based on internal modeling of future grid behavior, which the firm uses to identify fundamental constraints in the network that batteries can relieve. The company then spent several years working with local government and fire officials to hone the projects’ safety protocols.

Consequently, some prominent expansions at Plus Power are to be seen, as the company has ramped up hiring and development activities and now has projects underway in 17 states.

“We can do this faster and we can do this in more places if we can level the playing field and have a storage [Investment Tax Credit],” Keefe stated.

Although, Plus Power is now is ready to build the largest batteries in Hawaii and Maine, with their drastically different grid paradigms. However, Keefe credited falling battery costs with making Cranberry Point a winner after four years of development. 

Recounting the opportunity they have bagged, the new head of policy and communications at Plus Power, Polly Shaw commented, “This is clearly a signal that large standalone storage is now competing with gas.”

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