Skip to main content

GUC Pilot Project Receives Grant

The Board of Directors for the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) program has approved a $125,000 grant to Greenville Utilities Commission (GUC). This grant is for a peak-shaving battery energy storage pilot project that GUC will conduct to determine the technical and financial feasibility of installing Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) as part of its load management program.

In 1978, Greenville Utilities was one of the first municipal utilities in the nation to implement load management to lower the community’s cost of power. When GUC purchases electric power, it pays a premium rate for energy consumed during the peak hour each month. The peak occurs when customers use the greatest amount of electricity. About 50% of GUC’s cost of power is related to peak demand. By reducing the peak, GUC can hold down the cost of purchased wholesale power.

To reduce energy demand during peak periods, GUC operates both diesel-engine and natural gas peak-shaving generators at industrial and large customer sites as well as voluntarily installed radio-controlled switches for its residential load management program (Beat the Peak). The BESS pilot program will help GUC determine the feasibility of installing future BESS systems in lieu of peak-shaving generators.

“Continuing to invest in new and innovative strategies to control wholesale power cost will save money for our customers,” said Tony Cannon, General Manager/CEO. “It will also allow for greater investment in GUC’s electric system and further increase eastern North Carolina’s economic competitiveness.”

GUC will develop the technical specifications for the 1-megawatt (MW) BESS at its MacGregor Downs substation. GUC will also collect and analyze all operational and financial data associated with the site to formulate a detailed financial analysis model. This model will be used to determine the feasibility of installing BESS in future peak shaving projects. As an APPA DEED grant recipient, GUC will also format the model in a way that it could be used by any utility with a similar wholesale power cost structure. GUC will share its analysis and findings at a future APPA conference.