Massachusetts lawmakers tour Reading Municipal Light Department battery storage system

May 5, 2021

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
May 5, 2021

A group of Massachusetts state lawmakers on April 23 toured the Reading Municipal Light Department’s (RMLD) Minuteman Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in North Reading, Mass.

The tour provided an opportunity for the lawmakers to see how the RMLD, a Municipal Light Plant (MLP), utilized a $1 million state grant to demonstrate the capabilities of energy storage. RMLD received the grant in 2018.

In addition to seeing the system firsthand, the lawmakers were briefed on how RMLD utilizes the BESS to reduce wholesale electricity costs for its customers as part of its demand response program.

The 5-megawatt, 10-megawatt hour BESS was constructed at RMLD’s North Reading substation and became operational on June 1, 2019. The system is owned by NextEra Energy Resources and operated under an energy storage agreement between NextEra and the RMLD.

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The primary purpose of the unit is coincident peak demand management for reductions during critical peak times when electricity is most expensive and to mitigate ISO New England’s need to dispatch less environmentally friendly generators.

In the 19 months that the BESS has been operational, the RMLD has realized net savings of $346,000 by reducing demand during annual capacity and monthly transmission peaks.

Lawmakers who attended the tour were Jeffrey Roy, new chairman of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy (TUE) Committee and six TUE Committee members: House Minority Leader Brad Jones, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, Rep. Joan Meschino, Rep. Kate Lipper-Garabedian, Rep. David Robertson, and Rep. Rich Haggerty.

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