Key Capture installs third New York storage project near Buffalo


Key Capture Energy, an energy storage developer located in Albany, N.Y., announced the electrification of its third New York utility-scale storage project, the 20 MW / 45.6 MWh KCE NY 6 project, located several miles south of downtown Buffalo, N.Y. The installation included Sungrow’s lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery energy storage system.

The project is interconnected into National Grid’s western New York service territory, which has undergone a surge of distributed energy system deployments from solar and storage projects recently due to grid constraints.

Black & McDonald served as engineering and construction contractor for the project’s construction, including partnerships with unionized labor International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW Locals 41, 43 and 1249); United Steel Workers (USW 135) and Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) — meeting KCE’s focus on hiring locally and supporting the community.

The developer holds long-term agreements for consistent revenue contributions from the grid-scale project to the communities of Blasdell and Hamburg, N.Y., the two villages where the project is located.

“We are excited to share that KCE NY 6 is officially coming online, which is a major step towards New York’s ambitious goal of achieving 70% renewable energy by 2030,” said Taylor Quarles, vice president of development, Key Capture Energy. “The NY 6 project will help to create a more resilient and reliable grid while reducing emissions and improving air quality for communities across the state.”

KCE NY 6 received $5 million in grant funding from the Bulk Market Acceleration Bridge Incentive Program as administered by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The grant provided financial support for new energy storage systems over 5 MW, before closing in February 2021.

The western New York project marks Key Capture’s third utility-scale battery project to enter operations across the Empire State, joining the 20 MW KCE NY 1, located in upstate Saratoga County, N.Y., and the 3 MW KCE NY 3 project in downstate Rockland County, N.Y. in Con Edison utility Orange and Rockland Utilities service territory.

As New York continues to invest in and build its cleaner and more resilient grid, public-private partnerships with companies like Key Capture Energy are critical to accelerating deployment of transformational energy storage resources. KCE NY 6 is part of a growing portfolio of bulk energy storage projects that will help make renewables like wind and solar available when and where they are needed most, reduce the use of obsolete peaker plants, and ultimately lower statewide electric system costs. -NYSERDA president and chief executive officer Doreen M. Harris

New York’s clean energy targets, set by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, call for the state to reach 70% renewable energy by 2030, including 10 GW of distributed solar and 6 GW of storage to become powered by fossil fuel free assets by 2040.

The state’s Energy Storage roadmap, filed on December 28, 2022, calls for 6 GW of energy storage development by 2030, representing at least 20% of peak electricity load for the state.  In addition to 1.3 GW of existing storage projects installed to date, the roadmap supports a buildout of 4.7 GW of new storage to reduce future statewide electric system costs by over $2 billion. The distributed energy system provides further benefits in the form of improved public health because of reduced exposure to natural gas and other fossil fuel power plants.

About 6 GW of energy storage capacity would meet approximately 25% of NYISO’s 2022 estimated winter peak demand of 23,893 MW, and 18% of NYISO’s 2022 summer estimated peak demand of 31,765 MW.

Key Capture Energy, founded in 2016, became majority-owned by Korean energy major SK E&S Co. Ltd. In December 2021, a unit of SK Group, a $106 billion revenue business with 2.5 GW of solar, wind and fuel cells developed in South Korea and 700 MWh of storage assets in the U.S. and Korea.

Key Capture Energy chief executive officer Jeff Bishop told pv magazine USA earlier this year that new incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act such as energy communities provide new market opportunities for the developer to deploy more projects, pointing to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market as a compelling region to site new storage projects in the place of retired coal generation capacity. To date the developer has developed projects in New York and Texas.

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