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Eversource seeks nonwires alternative for NH town with $7M battery

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Eversource seeks nonwires alternative for NH town with $7M battery

Eversource Energy has proposed a "non-wires alternative" to a power line project in a small New Hampshire town that would include installing an approximately $7 million, 1.7-MW lithium-ion battery to provide back-up power for up to four hours.

The proposed large-scale battery will complement locally targeted energy efficiency initiatives and a statewide "smart device" program, which incentivizes residential owners of batteries, electric vehicle chargers and smart thermostats to help manage load during peak demand, Eversource, New England's largest utility, said in a recent press release.

Rather than pursue a new power line, Eversource proposes to build the large-scale battery in the town of Westmoreland in southwestern New Hampshire. Located in a rural area currently served by one major power line, Westmoreland has suffered more outages in recent years than similar communities, Eversource said.

Named the Westmoreland Clean Innovation Project, the proposed battery system specifically aims to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages in the area while avoiding the construction of a new, 10-mile, overhead power line for $6 million and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The project will ensure continued power service to local businesses, nearly 450 residential customers, a fire station, elementary school and nursing home, along with other critical facilities, during emergencies and other interruptions, Eversource said.

Eversource said its proposed statewide demand response program for smart devices will be included in its energy efficiency program update filing with the Public Utilities Commission later in 2019. In addition, Eversource said it will seek approval for the 1.7-MW battery in its permanent distribution rate filing to be submitting at the end of May. If approved, the utility said it expects construction on the project to begin in late 2020.

The Westmoreland project joins a short list of large-scale battery projects being pursued by Eversource as alternatives to building or upgrading transmission networks.

In early April, residents of Provincetown, Mass., approved a lease allowing Eversource to build and operate its planned 25-MW Outer Cape Energy Storage (Eversource Energy Reliability Project), a $40 million lithium-ion battery array aimed at boosting reliability on Cape Cod. In February, Eversource also proposed the 14.7-MW Martha’s Vineyard Energy Storage Systems (Oak Bluffs Battery Storage), a $43 million lithium-ion battery project for the island of Martha's Vineyard, Mass., designed to alleviate emissions by replacing 12.5-MW of diesel-fired generation on which the island relies during emergencies and when summer electricity demand is at its peak. Both Massachusetts battery projects are on track to start construction by the end of 2019, Eversource said.