Hearing planned on battery energy storage project

The Southold Planning Board has set a public hearing for Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. on the site plan for a proposed energy storage facility along Oregon Road in Cutchogue.

At a meeting Monday, the board classified the project as a Type 1 action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, which means, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, that an environmental impact statement will likely be required.

Key Capture Energy hopes to build an approximately 60-megawatt lithium-ion battery energy storage system and a new Long Island Power Authority substation on the 27-acre parcel. The Albany-based energy company has also proposed entering an easement agreement with Southold Town to permit access to an adjacent parcel for a new overhead transmission line, according to an expanded environmental assessment prepared by H2M Architects + Engineers.

Representatives for KCE indicated Monday that the project would provide energy to local users, support the resiliency of local infrastructure and use local union labor.

“In terms of local benefit, as our energy system and supply changes, it’s going to be really important that we have distributed energy generation and energy storage throughout the electric grid,” said Phil Denara, senior manager of development at KCE. “It gives LIPA the opportunity to design its future transmission planning initiatives around this project, and will support a resilient and reliable system in the North Fork.”

Excess renewable electricity generated would be stored in the battery system, which would then discharge that energy back onto the grid during periods of peak electricity demand. A full discharge of the system proposed in Cutchogue would provide enough energy for about 16,000 homes on an average day.

In an email, Mr. Denara said KCE “is committed to supporting New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and the Public Service Commission’s Order establishing a statewide energy storage goal of installing 1,500 MW of energy storage by 2025 and 3,000 MW by 2030, which was recently doubled to 6 GW by 2030 by Gov. Hochul during her State of the State Address earlier this year. Long Island’s electric grid is rapidly changing in preparation of expected offshore wind generation and the retirements of existing fossil generation. The local grid will need fast-responding, flexible solutions like battery energy storage to accommodate these changes.”

Mr. Denara pointed to a study prepared by Strategen Consulting LLC on behalf of the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium that examined the operations of fossil-fueled power plants on Long Island and found that fossil peaker replacements could save LIPA customers as much as $393 million and significantly reduce air pollutants.

He added that in April 2020, PSEG LI put out a request for information seeking “… relevant input from respondents about suggested approaches to providing all or part of energy and capacity needed to serve up to 130 MW of demand on the North Fork of Long Island, beginning as early as 2025, but not later than 2027, with a minimum project size of 5 MW.”

The proposed battery storage facility would comprise 272 battery energy storage container units, 34 power conversion system units and a 1,000-square foot point of interconnection building, and would disturb about 11 acres of the property.

KCE has also filed to subdivide the parcel so that 2.54 acres would belong to LIPA with a 392-squarefoot substation building, lightning masts and around 13 utility poles connecting to County Route 48 via an access easement over town land.

Fourteen planting block patterns have been proposed to border a 12-foot-high barrier wall and the battery energy storage facility, with deciduous plantings, evergreen trees, shrubs and seeding.

The project will need a special exception from the Zoning Board of Appeals for use as a public utility, as well as approvals from several other government agencies. The applicant also needs to provide LIPA easement details and other construction details.

KCE currently operates five projects in Texas and New York, with the largest in Saratoga County, N.Y., at 20 MW.