Duke Energy revealed its plans to invest nearly $500m in battery storage in the Carolinas over the next 15 years, which could result in 300MW of energy storage.

Duke Energy

Image: Duke Energy to invest in 300MW energy storage over 15 years. Photo: Courtesy of Duke Energy Corporation.

In its recent Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), Duke Energy stated the investment plans. Currently, the combined battery storage capacity of all utilities in operation stands at 15MW in North Carolina and is far less in South Carolina, the company stated.

Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology president Rob Caldwell said: “Duke Energy is at the forefront of battery energy storage, and our investment could increase as we identify projects that deliver benefits to our customers.

“Utility-owned and operated projects in North Carolina and South Carolina will include a variety of system benefits that will help improve reliability for our customers and provide significant energy grid support for the region.”

The company has recently filed for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity with the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a solar facility in the Hot Springs community of Madison County as part of a microgrid project.

The Hot Springs Microgrid project will include a 2MW solar facility and a 4MW lithium-based battery storage facility. This microgrid is expected to offer a safe, cost-effective and reliable grid solution to provide power to its customers in the Hot Springs area.

The microgrid project part Duke Energy’s Western Carolinas Modernization Project, which also includes closing a half-century-old, coal-fired power plant in Asheville in 2019. The company will replace the coal-fired power plant with a natural gas-fired plant and distributed energy resources like solar power and battery storage.

Besides the microgrid project, Duke Energy is also planning to have others including, a 9MW lithium-ion battery system in the city of Asheville. This battery will be primarily used to help the electric system operate more efficiently and reliably for customers.

The company also plans to install a new zinc-air battery in Haywood County. The 95KWh battery, coupled with a 10kWh solar installation is serving a communications tower on Mount Sterling in the Smoky Mountains National Park has been operating for more than a year.