Last month, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives announced the planned installation of cutting-edge battery energy storage technology in 10 communities across North Carolina served by electric cooperatives. The battery projects will be integrated at existing electric distribution substations, adding local energy resources to enhance system resilience and reliability for co-op members. JOEMC will be participating in the battery project with the installation of a battery in our Queens Creek Substation in the Hubert/Swansboro area.
The batteries are being engineered and constructed by North Carolina-based FlexGen, the second-largest energy storage technology company in the nation and a leader in designing energy storage solutions that further the ongoing evolution in the energy industry.
The battery energy storage system installations began earlier this year, with activations anticipated in the summer. Each site will bring temporary construction jobs to the local community and help enhance area resources for future investment.
The 10 battery installations will collectively provide 40 MWs of power and will be charged when demand for electricity is low and discharged during moments of peak demand. This enhances electric reliability and is expected to provide cost savings over the lifetime of the batteries. Co-op members will benefit from those savings because cooperatives are not-for-profit, at-cost energy providers.
JOEMC and the other electric cooperatives in North Carolina have worked together for years to lead innovative energy strategies, including community solar, microgrids, electric vehicle chargers, demand response programs, and solar-plus storage initiatives. We remain committed to innovation that advances our Brighter Future vision for increasingly sustainable, affordable, and reliable electricity and supports our goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The substation batteries complement this growing collection of distributed energy resources, which cooperatives are integrating into the grid and deploying at scale. By monitoring and coordinating distributed resources, cooperatives are acting as a ‘distribution operator.’ In this role, cooperatives can collectively manage resources across the state to maximize benefits, including greater visibility across the system, optimized operation for enhanced grid resilience, and increased reliability. We’ve been planning for a brighter, more sustainable future for a long time.
We’ve spent the past decade reducing our dependence on carbon-intensive power generation, and as a result, our current fuel mix is more than 60 percent carbon-free. Coal-fired generation makes up less than 5 percent of our portfolio, compared with the national average of 13 percent.
JOEMC and the other electric cooperatives of North Carolina will continue to provide a brighter future for our members. Our local roots guide our innovation and actions and focus on delivering value to our members and communities. In this decade and beyond, we will continue our commitment to providing reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost while also advancing the pursuit of responsible sustainability goals.