The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), the Commonwealth’s designated joint action agency for municipal utilities, and Lightshift Energy, an energy storage project developer, owner, and operator, announced a “first-in-kind” program for the industry to deploy the state’s first jointly implemented fleet of grid-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS).

Lightshift will build up to 50 MW of BESS across MMWEC’s growing utility membership, which represents half of all the municipal utilities in the state, serving nearly 200,000 customers. Lightshift said the partnership could provide over $200 million in cost savings for municipal customers while enabling effective management of generation and load to help the Commonwealth reach its goals of net zero emissions by 2050.

As part of the agreement, participating utilities within MMWEC’s membership will host one or more Lightshift energy storage projects. The initial wave of projects will commence operations this summer, with four projects already under construction in the towns of Groton, Holden, and Paxton. Late-stage development activities are already underway in the towns of Peabody, Shrewsbury, Wakefield, Chicopee, Ipswich, and Princeton, with mid-stage development activities moving forward in several other communities. Groton and Wakefield projects, among others, will provide backup power to critical infrastructure. The growing portfolio is scheduled to come online throughout 2024 and 2025.

“MMWEC is pleased to partner with Lightshift Energy on this battery energy storage system project,” says MMWEC Chief Executive Officer Ronald C. DeCurzio. “The project demonstrates yet again how the municipal utilities are leading the way in decarbonization in Massachusetts, in alignment with the Commonwealth’s emissions reduction targets.”

Cost-savings will be driven by “peak shaving” activities. Lightshift’s systems will be charged during periods of lower energy consumption and discharged during times of peak energy demand.

“This is a significant milestone for Massachusetts and for the participating utilities which are demonstrating leadership in grid modernization while prioritizing cost reduction for their communities,” said Rory Jones, Lightshift Co-Founder and Managing Partner. “And MMWEC has been pivotal in facilitating this first-in-kind program that other states will look to as a means to achieve major impact through community-based storage, at scale. Our partners in Groton, Holden, and Paxton have demonstrated particular leadership in bringing this program to life.”

Originally published in Renewable Energy World.

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