Solar-plus-storage system begins operation at Camp Lejeune


Duke Energy began operating what it says is the largest energy storage system in the state of North Carolina, an 11 MWh lithium iron phosphate battery project in Onslow County, N.C.  The one-hour discharge battery system will operate in conjunction with an adjacent 13 MW (AC) ground-mounted solar facility located on a leased site within Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps base.

The project’s physical footprint is about 1 acre of land. Duke Energy partnered with Black & Veatch affiliate Overland Contracting, Inc., which served as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for construction of the project.

The Camp Lejeune solar facility, which includes 55,000 SolarWorld modules, was commissioned in 2015.

“Battery storage is an important resource for our transition to cleaner energy,” said Kendal Bowman, president of Duke Energy’s North Carolina regulated utility business. “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.”

Both projects are connected to a Duke Energy substation and will be used to serve all Duke Energy Progress customers. The utility said that with further work, the plant could enable the solar and battery systems to improve the resiliency of MCB Camp Lejeune against outages.

The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune has an enhanced use lease and strategic partnership with Duke Energy Progress, which, according to U.S. Navy Cmdr. Ross Campbell, director, Public Works at MCB Camp Lejeune, has helped make an investment in “the pursuit of energy security inside the fence-line.”

“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,” Campbell said. “These systems are part of the ongoing collaboration with the Department of Defense and its utility providers to ensure energy security at federal facilities.”

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

The utility 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. Currently, Duke’s regulated utilities have about 90 MW of battery energy storage projects in operation in three states, with plans to have more than 1.6 GW of battery storage in service by 2029.

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