Duke Energy Microgrid
Image credit: Wikimedia

North Carolina utility regulators have approved Duke Energy’s plan for a solar-and-battery storage microgrid in the town of Hot Springs.The microgrid will include a 2-MW solar facility and 4-MW lithium-ion battery storage system.

The combination will provide reliability, frequency, voltage regulation and ramping support, as well as extra capacity during peak demand.

“Duke Energy’s research work on microgrids has led to a large-scale effort that will better serve, not only these customers in a remote area, but also help us gain experience from this pilot project to better serve all customers with additional distributed energy and energy storage technologies,” said Zak Kuznar, Duke Energy’s managing director of Microgrid and Energy Storage Development. “Projects like this will lead to a smarter energy future for the Carolinas.”

The project is part of Duke Energy's plan to meet power demand by balancing public input, environmental impacts and the need to provide customers with safe, reliable and affordable energy.

Another component of that plan is in the city of Asheville where Duke Energy will connect a 9-MW lithium-ion battery system at a Duke Energy substation site in the Rock Hill community. The battery will primarily be used to help the electric system operate more efficiently and reliably for customers.

Together, the two projects will cost around $30 million and should be operational in early 2020.

Also in the region, Duke Energy is closing a half-century-old, coal-fired plant in Arden by January 2020 – and replacing it with a new 560-MW combined-cycle natural gas plant.

Duke Energy has developed several microgrid projects over recent years. In Haywood County, the utility has a 95 kWh zinc-air battery and 10-kW solar installation serving a communications tower on Mount Sterling in the Smokey Mountains.

This story originally appeared on our sister-site, Power Engineering.