Battery storage facility eyed for Highland

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 7/31/19

GlidePath Power Solutions has proposed a one-story, 30,000 sq/ft lithium-ion battery storage facility in Highland behind the NYS Department of Transportation building at the intersection of Routes 9W …

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Battery storage facility eyed for Highland

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GlidePath Power Solutions has proposed a one-story, 30,000 sq/ft lithium-ion battery storage facility in Highland behind the NYS Department of Transportation building at the intersection of Routes 9W and 299. About 2.7 acres will be disturbed of a 100 acre site, it will be a fenced in and alarmed lot, with ingress and egress to the south via Lumen Lane.

Erin Hazen, Director of Development for GlidePath, described the details of the proposed storage facility to the Lloyd Planning Board at last week’s meeting. She said the project is for a 20 megawatt battery storage facility that can run 4 hours when needed. The number of on-site batteries has not yet been determined but said this is not a generating facility but one designed only for storage.

Hazen said the batteries inside the building will be kept in a climate controlled environment and configured in a specific layout.

“They are connected in packs and each pack has its own controller. Those packs are assembled into a string and these packs record lots of things in micro-second increments; they know voltage temperature, what’s their state of charge and they make real time decisions in unison to the battery management system in those strings,” she said. “As they get signals from the grid to take power or give power, it does that automatically.”

Hazen said that these types of storage facilities are a key component of New York’s Green New Deal plan, which calls for meeting the goal of 70% renewable forms of energy by 2030.

Hazen said this will “dramatically” change the state’s electricity grid.

“To help that happen, one part of the deal is to install 1,500 megawatts of energy storage by 2025 and double that [3,000 megawatts] by 2030,” she said. “This project fits within that context.”

Hazen said this facility will store clean energy and provide it when it is needed, “since wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, storage can help to smooth over those gaps.” She added that the current energy resources already in place can be utilized as build-out expands across the state while also reducing overall emissions.

Hazen said if the grid becomes overloaded on peak summer days this facility can assist, while also lowering costs in the process.

Hazen suggested that these types of facilities should be incentivized in the tax code and pointed to a list of support for them from leading environmental advocates: the American Council On Renewable Energy, Environment America, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Audubon Society, the Natural Resource Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists and the National Wildlife Federation.

Hazen said Highland DG LLC is the project company and GlidePath is the parent company.

“We develop, own and operate next generation clean power projects focused on battery storage, solar and wind,” she said. “We are a small company but we have a lot of experience on our team who are all seasoned professionals.” She said the company presently has 424 megawatts in operation in parts of the U.S. and in Guam, comprised of battery storage, wind and solar projects, with offices in Elmhurst, Illinois and St. Paul, Minnesota. She added that more than a gigawatt is in development, “in our pipeline.” One gigawatt can realistically power about 300,00 homes and is equal to 1,000 megawatts.

Hazen said energy storage fits on the grid behind the distribution lines that serve homes and when the power lines are down and the electricity is out, they too are down. She characterized storage facilities like the one that is being proposed as “shock absorbers” that help to create “nice smooth lines in the grid, which it wants.” She stressed that GlidePath will have an interconnection agreement with Central Hudson, will not perform maintenance for them but can help make their aging network more reliable.

Hazen said the facility, “will constantly be getting signals of what does the grid need; do you need to off-load power and charge our batteries or do you need to pull from our batteries to meet load; that is all through an automated control system.”

Hazen said there are no emissions released from this facility, it will be monitored remotely 24/7 and periodic maintenance will be performed by qualified operators.

“It has fail-safe systems and if it detects a problem it will shut itself down,” she said.

Engineer Dave Young, with the Chazen Companies, said the project will not impact any wetlands, thus avoiding the need for special permitting. There will be about 1.6 acres of impervious surface that will require a SWPPP storm water permit through New York State.

Young pointed out that the parcel is currently zoned Light Industrial -warehouse.

“We think it is an ideal location. It’s going to be out of sight and people won’t see it,” he said. “We do look at sound as part of the Environmental Assessment and with the distances we’re talking about here [from neighbors] you’re not even going to hear it.”

In the next few months GlidePath will be back before the Planning Board with additional documents for their review.

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