Groundbreaking Battery System Powers Vermont State House During Recent Severe Storm
Successful First ‘Real World’ Use of Pioneering Resiliency Project Is Model for Other Public Buildings
MONTPELIER, Vt. – We told you several weeks ago about the pioneering back-up power system at the Vermont State House, designed to keep critical systems running during an outage. The Samsung Mega E2 battery system in the basement got its first chance at proving its capabilities when the State House power kicked off last Friday due to a major storm. The backup system performed successfully, powering the critical building safety systems selected by the state to be tied to the auxiliary power – systems like fire suppression pumps, and elevators.
The battery project is the first in the nation to back up a state capitol building, and is providing innovative, low-carbon, cost-effective power during outages thanks to a partnership between the state of Vermont, Northern Reliability, Dynapower, Virtual Peaker and Green Mountain Power (GMP). The project can serve as a model to add resiliency to other public buildings while helping to reduce reliance on fossil fuels cost effectively.
“The system worked exactly as it was designed to, ensuring that critical electric loads continued to operate seamlessly. We have been testing the system for months, but this was the first real-world deployment, and we are very pleased with the performance,” said Vermont Buildings and General Services Commissioner Jennifer Fitch.
The batteries helped the livestream of the Senate floor business continue through the outage, but the lights in the Senate chamber went out, as they are not connected to the energy storage system.
“It’s always disruptive when the power goes out, but it was such a relief to know that the most critical systems were functioning thanks to this great project,” said Sen. President Pro Tem Becca Balint. “We appreciate the efforts being made to ensure that more of our work can continue in the future if there are outages again.”
Northern Reliability, of Waterbury, designed the battery system. “It’s always exciting to see our systems fulfill their directives. Storage has so many benefits that can be realized; whether it’s the financial benefits of offsetting peak demand, power conditioning for sensitive equipment, resiliency, redundancy, or in this case, storm recovery, it’s literally an energy ‘Swiss Army Knife.’ These benefits can help so many businesses get through storms and outages without skipping a beat,” said Northern Reliability CEO Jay Bellows.
The batteries are part of GMP’s first-in-the-country Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for Business program which provides financial incentives to businesses that install batteries and share some of that backup energy. GMP uses that stored power during energy peaks, when power is costliest and dirtiest. This reduces costs for all GMP customers and also covers the cost of the incentives in the BYOD for Business program.
“It is great to see a collaboration like this be successful, keeping a critical part of our state connected and resilient in the face of severe weather. Batteries empower customers and communities, providing connection, convenience and safety while reducing costs and carbon emissions at the same time,” said Mari McClure, GMP president and CEO.
While supplying clean backup power during outages, the State House battery project is also expected to save Vermont taxpayers $44,000 and GMP customers an additional $18,000 over 10 years, while also supplying clean backup power. The batteries are projected to reduce carbon emissions by 6,388 pounds per year, the equivalent of not using 326 gallons of gasoline.
Video clips of battery system and Vermont statehouse:
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 266,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and is partnering with them to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. GMP earned a spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the World list four years in a row (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020). In 2019 GMP was honored by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Business Magazine with the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business of the Year Award.
Kristin Kelly, Green Mountain Power
It is great to see a collaboration like this be successful, keeping a critical part of our state connected and resilient in the face of severe weather. Batteries empower customers and communities, providing connection, convenience and safety while reducing costs and carbon emissions at the same time.Mari McClure, GMP President and CEO