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Lightshift Energy to deploy 50 MW of community BESS in in Massachusetts

Lightshift Energy project in Danville. Source: Business Wire

The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) has selected Lightshift Energy as its exclusive partner to deploy the state's first jointly implemented fleet of grid-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS) after a highly competitive solicitation process in late 2022. 

The project involves 50 MW of BESS across MMWEC's utility membership, which represents half of all municipal utilities in the state, serving nearly 200,000 customers, according to the company. 

Lightshift claims that the "first-in-kind" energy storage deployment will lower utility costs by approximately $200 million, while improving resilience and sustainability at community and state levels. 

As part of the agreement, participating utilities within MMWEC's membership will host one or more Lightshift energy storage projects. Lightshift will leverage its extensive expertise in analytics, finance, operations and engineering to develop, own and operate the BESS projects. 

"MMWEC is pleased to partner with Lightshift Energy on this battery energy storage system project," says MMWEC Chief Executive Officer Ronald C. DeCurzio. "The project demonstrates yet again how the municipal utilities are leading the way in decarbonization in Massachusetts, in alignment with the Commonwealth's emissions reduction targets."

The initial phase of projects is set to commence operations this summer, with four projects already under construction in the towns of Groton, Holden and Paxton. Late-stage development activities are already underway in the towns of Peabody, Shrewsbury, Wakefield, Chicopee, Ipswich and Princeton, with mid-stage development activities moving forward in several other communities. 

Groton and Wakefield projects, among others, will integrate direct resilience benefits through backup power to critical infrastructure. The growing portfolio is scheduled to come online throughout 2024 and 2025, according to the developer. 

"This is a significant milestone for Massachusetts and for the participating utilities which are demonstrating leadership in grid modernization while prioritizing cost reduction for their communities," said Rory Jones, Lightshift Co-Founder and Managing Partner. 

"And MMWEC has been pivotal in facilitating this first-in-kind program that other states will look to as a means to achieve major impact through community-based storage, at scale. Our partners in Groton, Holden and Paxton have demonstrated particular leadership in bringing this program to life", he added. 

Cost-savings will be driven by "peak shaving" activities. Peak electricity demand often coincides with the grid's most strained and carbon-intensive hours. Lightshift's systems will be charged during periods of lower energy consumption and discharged during times of peak energy demand. 

According to the BESS developer, these peak shaving systems not only have a huge economic impact, but they also reduce strain on the system, hardening the grid as a whole, and by extension, they support increased integration of renewable energy, enhancing sustainability. 


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