LIPA on Wednesday is expected to announce the awarding of a series of proposals to install large battery storage devices at its facilities throughout Long Island as it works to prepare for a carbon-free grid fed by wind, solar and other renewable power sources.

After conducting a request for proposals in April, LIPA is expected to announce that it has selected five for a total of 329 megawatts — nearly double the 175 megawatts it initially sought. Gov. Kathy Hochul earlier this year upped the state’s goal for battery storage to double the figure previously sought by the state, to at least 6,000 megawatts by 2030. A megawatt is enough to power from 800 to 1,000 homes. 

LIPA's contracted battery storage units will help replace a wide network of small power plants called peakers, which operate chiefly during peak-usage periods in the summer. Those units, along with other fossil-fuel plants, will be phased out as the state moves to a total non-fossil-fuel grid by 2040.

LIPA will enter contract negotiations with the five companies that proposed the batteries, which can store power during off-peak times and make it available during peaks, particularly if the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.

Under the plan, around 150 megawatts of storage would be placed at LIPA’s Brookhaven substation in two separate bids; another 50 megawatts would be at the Shoreham station, 79 megawatts at the Kings Highway substation in Hauppauge and 50 megawatts at the West Babylon substation. The plans must meet environmental and other approvals. 

The plans, if realized, would represent a significant increase from the current 10 megawatts of battery storage LIPA has online: 5 megawatts in East Hampton and 5 in Montauk. LIPA has contracts for more than $100 million for those two projects.

It’s still uncertain how much the 325 megawatts will cost, as LIPA is only now preparing for contract negotiations. But prices of battery storage have come down in the several years since LIPA awarded those two contracts to NextEra and National Grid.

In other news at a LIPA board meeting set for the Jones Beach Energy Center Wednesday, LIPA is expected to receive a briefing from PSEG Long Island on LIPA's concerns about testing of the utility’s outage management computer systems for storms and other emergencies. LIPA this summer had criticized PSEG’s testing procedures, but PSEG said all systems had been properly tested and were ready for storm season.

Also, opponents of a PSEG plan to run a new high-voltage power line beneath a portion of an existing right of way in the Long Pond Greenbelt preserve near Sag Harbor are expected to attend the meeting to request LIPA trustees explore an alternate route that avoids any impact to the preserve. LIPA has yet to finalize the project, which is needed to address rising power needs on the South Shore.

PSEG previously said its preferred plan would use horizontal drilling to place a mile-long portion of the 69,000-volt power line under the southern end of the Greenbelt. The area is home to rare coastal plain ponds, freshwater swamps and woodland that have been preserved a half-century. Conservationists want to divert the cable away from the park, which already is home to miles of transmission lines on tall transmission towers.

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