Distributed Energy Resources, Energy Storage, Sourcing Renewables  -  August 1, 2019

Brandeis adds battery storage

In an effort to help develop technology to store large amounts of electricity generated by renewable sources, Brandeis University is participating in an electricity storage project that will also save the campus an estimated $50,000 a year on its electric bill.

Brandeis Now reported the University is partnering with AMS and FirstLight Power, which together will install and operate a huge, rechargeable, 780-kilowatt-hour battery-based system that will connect with Brandeis’ electrical power system. The battery will also connect to the regional power grid and will charge overnight when the regional power system’s demand is at its lowest. 

The report noted that Brandeis worked closely with AMS through utility company Eversource’s Peak Demand Reduction Services program to demonstrate design, interconnection, installation, and operation of large battery storage systems in Massachusetts. The result of this collaboration informed final design and regulatory approval of Eversource’s Active Demand Reduction program for batteries, which rolled out earlier this year. Brandeis and its battery storage partners plan to participate in this utility program beginning in 2020.

The savings would be at their most significant during the summer months when hot weather can spike electric prices. Brandeis already has a “Turn it Off” program to promote conservation during these peak periods, which help set overall electric rates for the campus. “Turn it Off” has saved tens of thousands of dollars over the past several years.

Sustainability Manager Mary Fischer explained that while the battery itself isn’t providing a new source of green electricity, “Energy storage is a key factor in expanding clean energy in our region, because it allows us to store electricity when it’s generated, then use it when it’s needed.” Fischer added, “We have a proven track record of deploying clean energy on our campus, so demonstrating the business case for battery storage is a logical step in supporting the clean energy and energy storage economy.”

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