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Midwest, United States

Utility Battery Energy Storage System Feasibility Study

Developing a Roadmap for Implementation

Large-scale Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) can be an alternative to costly, traditional utility infrastructure upgrades – for example, enabling service to new geographic territories, or providing new capacity for growing electric load. TRC is working to deliver a feasibility study for utility-scale BESS installations, helping demonstrate cost-effectiveness, engineering requirements, and resiliency benefits.

With TRC’s support, a midwestern utility is evaluating the deployment of large-scale battery energy storage resources to promote local system reliability and to defer traditional, high-cost infrastructure upgrades. TRC provided early-stage BESS engineering and benefit-cost analyses to help quantify market opportunities and provide critical insight in making investment decisions in deployment of energy storage and other Distributed Energy Resources (DERs).

Evaluating Energy Storage Use Cases

As part of our work for the utility, TRC’s Advanced Energy team helped identify three storage use cases in the service territory, and performed a comprehensive study to demonstrate costs, benefits, and technical feasibility of the three scenarios:

Resiliency and Reliability: BESS as a Microgrid. An isolated town at the end of a long distribution line has experienced sustained outages and other typical end-of-line circuit issues. TRC analyzed the town’s load and outage data and developed different BESS sizing options which were each used in modeling various outage scenarios. The modeling results provided the utility with insights towards providing the desired coverage to ride through specific outage durations. TRC’s cost-benefit analysis will ultimately help the utility determine whether the BESS solution is more advantageous than other infrastructure upgrades in consideration.

Capacity Relief. A second town’s distribution system is projected to exceed existing transformer capacity due to significant load additions from a planned new development. TRC modeled existing load data against various load growth scenarios to determine what size battery would be required to defer the transformer upgrade, and for how long. The analysis included anticipated costs for implementing different BESS sizing options and cost effectiveness scenarios, depending on projected load growth and the anticipated cost of the transformer upgrade.

Peak Demand Shaving for EV Fleet Loads. TRC developed an impact scenario model to quantify how a local substation would be affected by a future, planned distribution facility with a fleet of electric vehicle (EV) delivery vans. Based on EV fleet size and charging scenarios, this study explored the potential impact of the charging stations on the utility’s circuit loading. The study demonstrated how installing a BESS to offset the new peaks, set by the EVs’ charging stations, would maintain circuit loading within the utility’s current limits.

The TRC team built custom modeling tools specific to these projects to run BESS and Solar PV sizing analyses against various utility operating and cost/upgrade scenarios. Our analysis looked at how the proposed BESS projects would have an impact on the utility’s existing distribution system(s) and the effects on protection and controls schemes to ensure continued safe operations. Our work in the pre-feasibility stage of these projects has equipped our client with a clear understanding of the BESS sizing requirements to meet their project objectives as well as the anticipated project costs. We are excited to continue working on the next phases of the project, further optimizing the proposed BESS solution and delivering the conceptual engineering design, and ultimately advancing the battery storage project to full design and implementation.

For more information on TRC’s advisory, consulting, and engineering client services, including energy storage, resiliency, and decarbonization solutions, contact us at:

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