Back-up energy site coming to Staten Island. How will it be used support the borough’s electrical grid?

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Back-up energy site coming to Staten Island. How will it be used support the borough’s electrical grid?

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — In a small space tucked between a gourmet sandwich shop and the long-vacant Lincoln Plumbing warehouse, Staten Island is quietly making a transition to renewable energy. Happening directly across the street from a branch of the New York Public Library and diagonal from an orthodontist’s office, the change is discreet and unassuming, only recently made evident by one of those ubiquitous green construction fences and a burst of excavation work. And according to developers, in a few year’s time, the borough will strongly benefit from the back-up power this site will create.

“This is a community-scale clean energy project that is going to take pressure off of the grid when it is overly stressed during the hot summer months,” noted Adam Cohen, chief technology officer and co-founder of NineDot Energy, a developer that creates urban energy solutions and recently committed to design one of its storage sites on a slice of land in Great Kills.

Li-ion battery storage sites are being built to power Staten Island

Tucked between a gourmet sandwich shop and the long-vacant Lincoln Plumbing warehouse, the site of community-scale battery storage project is located directly across the street from the Great Kills Library. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

“We’ve identified four neighborhoods — Annadale, Bay Terrace, Eltingville and Great Kills — as ‘highly stressed’ in terms of power,” Cohen continued. “This is an effort to fix that.”

Consisting of 11 Tesla-branded “megapacks” and a solar canopy, Cohen said the infrastructure will be a “quiet neighbor” that won’t disrupt the town or be an eyesore. Instead, the energy guru promised his sleek, modern SUV-sized pods will be a welcome tenant that will deliver economic savings and eventually reduce carbon emissions.

“The purpose of this project is to support the community, not distract from it,” Cohen said. “This property will contain 11 quiet boxes and a small solar panel array. We’re in the engineering and design phase now, but we hope to have the entire thing built and operational in about a year’s time. Our goal is to start powering the grid in 2023.”

Li-ion battery storage sites are being built to power Staten Island

These structures will be torn down to accommodate for the battery storage equipment. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

NineDot introduced a similar setup in the Bronx this past August, installing two neat rows of white storage containers next to a solar canopy.

Cohen told The New York Times that the three-megawatt battery energy storage system installed there, which is made up of lithium-ion battery packs, can provide electricity for about 3,000 local homes for about four hours during a peak summer day.

“Batteries can provide power to the local grid when it’s needed,” The Times reported. “They are then recharged at night, when power usage is low.”

A Li-ion battery storage site is being built to power portions of Staten Island

NineDot Energy recently constructed this battery energy storage system in the Bronx, complete with Tesla batteries and supporting equipment and solar canopies. The company is now planning a similar site in Great Kills. (Courtesy NineDot Energy)(Courtesy NineDot Energy)

The Staten Island site will also contain lithium-ion battery packs, a component of the project that Cohen said should not cause concern.

“These are not the Li-on batteries that you read about in the news, exploding and causing fires,” Cohen said when asked about the equipment’s level of danger. “Our equipment goes through a stringent regulation process, and we follow a strict set of requirements that are issued by the FDNY.”

“This project is special, because it combines multiple technologies that will contribute to a clean energy future and make our region a leader in the fight against climate change,” said Vicki Kuo, senior vice president, customer energy solutions, at Con Edison, which is collaborating with NineDot Energy on this project. “The ability of companies like NineDot to innovate, along with the commitment of Con Edison, our customers and other parties, will ensure that our State and City meet their environmental goals.”

Doreen M. Harris, president and CEO of The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which also backs the initiative, said in a press release: “NYSERDA is proud to partner with companies like NineDot Energy that are committed to investing in energy storage projects that allow us to better integrate clean, renewable resources more efficiently.”

According to The Times, NineDot, which recently secured a $100 million investment for its works, is continuing to scour the city for available land, intent on building and operating another dozen storage projects next year in all five boroughs, as well as in Westchester and on Long Island.

“People are watching New York to see how a dense, urban area can decarbonize,” David Arfin, chief executive of NineDot Energy, told the news agency. “We think we can show them how.”

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