Massachusetts’s first utility-scale clean energy storage facility breaks ground

Yesterday, stakeholders from across Massachusetts and New England joined the Sterling Municipal Light Department to celebrate the groundbreaking of the first utility-scale energy storage facility in Massachusetts.

The 2-megawatt, 3.9 megawatt-hour battery storage system, to be installed at Sterling’s Chocksett Road Substation, will be able to “island” from the grid during a power outage and, with the support of existing solar generation, provide up to 12 days of backup power to the town’s police station and dispatch center, a critical facility providing first responder services.

In addition to the resilient power benefits, the town will also save on energy costs over the project’s lifespan due to the grid services the batteries will provide. Site construction will start in the fall of 2016, and the project is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2016. This 2-megawatt project effectively doubles the installed battery storage capacity in Massachusetts.

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton said:

“Energy storage plays a crucial role as the Commonwealth continues to transition to a more renewable, sustainable energy future, and I commend Sterling for their embrace of this innovative resource. The storage technology being adopted by Sterling will not only reduce costs and emissions for ratepayers locally but will provide critical increased resiliency for the regional electric grid.”

Judith Judson, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources said:

“Energy storage can be a game-changer in integrating more clean, renewable resources into our grid, in managing peak demand and improving the efficiency of our grid, and in managing storms and adding resiliency to our grid. These applications have the benefit of moving our grid forward and meeting our mission of a clean, affordable, resilient future.”

Dr. Imre Gyuk, Energy Storage Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (DOE-OE) said:

“DOE is most pleased to help make this very significant project a reality. We hope that Sterling will become an example for other projects in Massachusetts and indeed the entire U.S.”

Dan Borneo, principal program/ project lead at Sandia National Laboratories said:

“The lessons learned from this project will be valuable in determining the economics of energy storage in various applications, in addition to helping understand the system metrics that are most important in determining system reliability and safet.”

Sean Hamilton, General Manager at the Sterling Municipal Light Department said:

“Energy storage is the next step for our industry.We’ve been doing one thing for a hundred years, it’s time to do something different.”

Todd Olinsky-Paul, Project Director at the Clean Energy States Alliane said:

“This project demonstrates the many benefits of energy storage technology, including the provision of resilient power to the town’s police station, plus it demonstrates the economic case for energy storage.It is laying the groundwork for future energy storage projects, and once that economic case is understood, we will see many other communities in New England follow in the footsteps of Sterling.”

The Project

The project is being led by Sterling Municipal Light Department, with batteries supplied by NEC Energy Solutions, a locally based company with headquarters in Westborough, MA. Project funding included a $1.46M grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, under the leadership of Commissioner Judith Judson, with additional financial and technical assistance from the DOE-OE under the direction of Dr. Imre Gyuk, and Sandia National Laboratories under the leadership of Dan Borneo.

Additional technical support was provided by CESA through its Energy Storage Technology Advancement Partnership (ESTAP), and by Clean Energy Group’s Resilient Power Project through a generous grant from Barr Foundation.

For additional information about this project read below:

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ESTAP will host a webinar on the Sterling energy storage project on Tuesday, October 25, 2016. Guest speakers will review the project implementation process, the battery storage technology, the project’s economic analysis, timeline, and more. There will also be ample time for questions and answers. For more information on this free webinar and to register, visit


Source: Press Release by Clean Energy Group. Image Credit: Clean Energy Group.