READING - Last month a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to commemorate the completion and electrification of the 5-megawatt Minuteman Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) located at RMLD’s North Reading substation.

Representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), local delegates of the Massachusetts House and Senate, local officials, and representatives from NextEra Energy Resources joined Reading Municipal Light Department (RMLD) Commission members and staff participated in the ceremony.

The unit was installed with the support of a $1 million grant from the Baker-Polito Administration’s Energy Storage Initiative (ESI) Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) program, funded by the DOER and administered by the MassCEC. The unit will support RMLD’s “shredding the peak,” and will integrate into RMLD’s power supply portfolio a mix focused on providing reliable and cleaner energy resources.

Peaks occur when the highest level of electricity is consumed in our region both monthly and annually. Reducing RMLD’s usage during peaks helps to offset current and future transmission and capacity costs, a direct benefit to RMLD customers. Peaks can also impact the environment; in some cases, less efficient and higher carbon emitting New England generators are called into action to meet the high demand for electricity. Energy storage units such as the BESS can help to reduce the need for these types of peaking generators.

The BESS will be charged during off-peak hours and discharged during peak events to reduce RMLD’s peak load. The BESS is co-located with RMLD’s 2.5-megawatt Distributed Generator, which is also used for peak reduction.

The BESS is the largest stand-alone energy storage unit in Massachusetts, and the largest of the 26 projects selected to receive the Commonwealth’s ACES funding.

Speakers at the ceremony included: Coleen O’Brien, General Manager, Reading Municipal Light Department; Commissioner Judith Judson, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources; Stephen Pike, Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center; House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, 20th Middlesex; Senator Jason M. Lewis, 5th Middlesex; Kathryn Manupelli, Chair, North Reading Select Board; Ross Groffman, Vice President, NextEra Energy Resources; and David Talbot, Chair, Reading Municipal Light Department Board of Commissioners.

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