CUC gets greenlight for battery storage

| 16/09/2019 | 13 Comments
Cayman News Service
Caribbean Utilities Company

(CNS): The utility regulator, OfReg, has approved a 20-megawatt utility-scale battery installation for Grand Cayman’s power provider, CUC, paving the way for the company to store renewable energy for back-up power at its North Sound Road plant. CUC said it could save customers a collective $5 million per year. Its primary function will be to provide “instantaneous or spinning reserve” power in the event of a generator failure, when the battery will instantly provide the necessary energy until other generators can be brought online.

By replacing spinning reserve, which is normally provided by generators, with battery power, the company will need fewer generators online, thereby reducing the amount of fuel used to make electricity production, according to CUC.

“The battery will also have the ability to react much faster than the existing plant, reducing the risk of customer outages caused by loss of generation,” CUC stated in a release following the regulator’s approval.

The battery will reduce greenhouse gas emissions directly through improving the efficiency of CUC’s diesel generators, cutting the fuel consumed. It will also enable more renewable generation to be connected to the island’s power system, also helping to reduce greenhouse gases.

“This forms part of the company’s commitment to continue to incorporate renewable energy into the electricity mix and at the same time give customers the opportunity to reduce their energy costs and lessen our carbon footprint on Grand Cayman,” CUC stated.

President and CEO Richard Hew said that OfReg’s approval meant the company could move forward on the project, which is due to start next year, taking it another step forward on integrating renewable energy into the grid while delivering economic and environmental benefits.

“It is important to note that the cost of providing spinning reserve to supply electrical power will be reduced as CUC will be using stored battery energy rather than diesel to provide reserve power. As a direct result of this project we expect that the fuel savings to the customers will be around $5M per annum,” he added.

Reliability of service is a key objective and critical to the continuing growth of Grand Cayman, CUC said, claiming that its system average availability index for the first two quarters of this year was 99.95%.

OfReg said this project will help the Cayman Islands to meet its clean energy goals, reducing diesel consumption by up to 6%, or 2 million gallons per year, and CO2 emissions by around 8%, and cut bills for CUC customers.

Gregg Anderson, OfReg executive director for energy, said, “The 20MW of energy storage will help improve grid reliability and integrate more renewables, creating a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future. Energy storage is expected to play a key role in OfReg’s commitment to ensure utilities deliver clean, safe, reliable and cost-effective energy, in keeping with the goals of the National Energy Policy.”

CUC said that alongside the battery storage project, it has agreed to increase the available capacity for the Distributed Energy Resources programme by an additional 12MW. This includes any customer’s on-site generation from renewable energy resources used to supply some, all or more than the customer’s load, and any load served by the customer’s generation but then switched to be served by CUC in the event of an outage of the customer’s generation.

CUC said that this project does not involve power generated by the Consumer Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) programme, as all of that electricity is subject to a feed-in tariff and is not used to directly offset the customer’s load.


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Category: Business, utilities

Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Lets get one of them Russian nuclear modules.
    No fuel factor. Park it off West Bay

  2. Anonymous says:

    coming soon…. “battery back up storage fee”

  3. Anonymous says:

    How is adding batteries ( lead-acid / AGM / lithium) reducing the carbon footprint , when manufacturing process of said batteries carries a high carbon & toxic substance residual footprint ? Presumably , the batteries will be installed above the expected storm surge level for a major hurricane.

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  4. Al Catraz says:

    “CUC said it could save customers a collective $5 million per year”

    Do they expect people to believe this? If it decreases their costs, it is an increase to their margin. When was the last time rates were lowered in response to any improvement in costs or efficiency? Never.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    What is the plan for wind power? Traditional wind turbines are banned due to interference with radar? Any other options? We need to think outside of the box. Solar is not the only solution.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Right move CUC, carry on you have the power. How soon will I see a lower bill?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    How much will these batteries cost us?

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  8. Anon says:

    I give CUC full marks for reliability, they never forget to increase their rates.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Saving $5m per annum sounds nice.

    But how much will it cost?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Saving them money, not us…..

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      • Anonymous says:

        Bingo and another “fee” will be added to our bill. Just like we are paying for the solar panels. I don’t know of one company that implements new technology, like solar. And makes the customers pay extra for them implementing it. Then to add to it. Once WE pay the solar panels off. They will make money from the energy the panels generate for free. AND they will still charge us for the solar panel implementation. Enough is enough. Yes, big families who have influence own alot of shares of CUC. But if you think about it. Electricity is the root of inflation and high costs in any society. If it is too expensive to run freezers, your grocery store must charge more to keep them cool. Ect ect.

        It’s time to bring in competition.

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