Duke Energy begins operating the largest battery system in North Carolina

Duke Camp Lejeune battery energy storage system

Duke Energy is expanding its battery storage capabilities in North Carolina and has begun commercial operation of the state’s largest battery system, an 11 MW project in Onslow County.

The battery system will frequently be operated in conjunction with an adjacent 13 MW solar facility located on a leased site within U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, which has been generating carbon-free energy since 2015. The two sites can also be operated independently.

“Battery storage is an important resource for our transition to cleaner energy,” said Kendal Bowman, Duke Energy’s North Carolina state president. “Pairing the energy storage system with our existing solar facility at Camp Lejeune helps strengthen the reliability of our energy grid and makes better use of our existing solar generation.”

Together, the projects enable the most efficient and reliable use of renewable resources. Both projects are connected to a Duke Energy substation and will be used to serve all Duke Energy Progress customers. Future work could enable the solar and battery systems to improve the resiliency of Camp Lejeune against outages.

“Through an enhanced use lease (EUL) and strategic partnership with Duke Energy Progress, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune has been able to make an important investment in the pursuit of energy security inside the fence-line,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Ross Campbell, director of public works at Camp Lejeune. “Integration of the solar plant with a battery energy storage system, unthinkable a decade ago, presents the installation with a number of opportunities to achieve energy resilience objectives. These systems are part of the ongoing collaboration with the Department of Defense and its utility providers to ensure energy security at federal facilities.”

The battery’s chemistry is lithium iron phosphate with the system rated at 11 MW/11 MWh, and its physical footprint is about 1 acre. Duke Energy partnered with Black & Veatch construction entity OCI, which acted as the prime contractor for engineering, procurement and construction.

In recent years, Duke Energy has been expanding battery storage in North Carolina. In the city of Asheville, a 9 MW lithium-ion battery system is operating next to a Duke Energy substation in the Shiloh community. In Madison County, in the town of Hot Springs, the company has a 4 MW lithium-ion battery system that is part of a microgrid in the town.

Battery storage is essential to speed the clean energy transition in the United States. It helps maximize the positive impact intermittent generation sources like wind and solar have on the energy grid.

The company plans to continue investing in battery technology over the next few years.  Duke Energy expects to have more than 1,600 MW of battery storage in service by 2029. Currently, the company’s regulated utilities have about 90 MW of battery energy storage projects in operation in three states.

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