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A New York Energy Innovation First: Battery Storage & Vehicle Chargers On One Site

Con Edison and a business partner plan to turn an empty lot in Brooklyn into a hub of clean energy innovation with a battery energy storage system and 18 publicly available electric vehicle chargers.

Con Edison has issued an award letter to Centrica Business Solutions, which has clean energy projects in Europe and North America, for a battery system and EV chargers at 223 Nevins St. in the Gowanus neighborhood.

This project will be the first in New York City that combines energy storage and electric vehicle charging.

“This project is unique in that it pairs an energy storage system with electric vehicle chargers, two technologies that will each play a big role in our clean energy future,” said Tim Cawley, the chief executive of Con Edison. “Our hub will help make service to our customers in the area more reliable, provide drivers with an easily accessible place to charge, and spruce up a vacant lot.”

Centrica will design, build, own and operate a 5-megawatt/15-megawatt hour battery system and 18 direct-current fast chargers at the site. The storage system, which will be in trailers, will hold 5 million watts, enough to power about 5,000 apartments for four hours during a summer peak.

“Once complete this will be one of the largest charging hubs anywhere in the city and the only one combined with a battery energy storage system,” said Chris Covell, the head of Centrica Business Solutions North America. “This kind of infrastructure project is vital to encourage the switch to electric vehicles and will help New York become greener and more resilient for future generations.”

The system will make little noise and emit no pollutants.

Direct-current fast chargers provide up to 350 kilowatts and can fully charge a vehicle in less than an hour. The charging power of direct-current fast chargers can vary, meaning that the charging time also varies.

Con Edison owns the lot between Baltic and Butler streets and once planned to build an electrical substation there. But the company’s forecast of energy needs in the area indicates it does not need the substation in the short term.

Con Edison will connect the battery system and chargers to its grid and install transformers and other equipment. Centrica will sell services from the batteries into the wholesale markets as part of its optimized virtual power plant.

Centrica will make lease payments to Con Edison for use of the land.

Centrica Business Solutions will install the batteries and chargers by the summer of 2022 and the storage system will be in place until at least 2035.

Centrica will charge the batteries with power from Con Edison’s grid during the overnight hours when the demand for power is lower and power is less expensive.

The electric vehicle chargers will be part of a Con Edison demonstration project. Con Edison will publish public updates on the progress of the demonstration project, ultimately sharing findings and conclusions that will help planners make future fast-speed EV charging hubs as efficient as possible.

The project will turn a dusty lot into an urban, environmental resource. A new rain garden will help manage rainwater, adding to the 95 bioswales in the Gowanus watershed that reduce overflow while providing greenery and native plant species. They include 11 rain gardens built and maintained by Gowanus Canal Conservancy. 

Centrica won the contract to build the storage system and install the chargers by responding to a pair of requests for proposals Con Edison issued last year.

About Centrica Business Solutions

Centrica Business Solutions partners with organizations to balance commercial success and environmental responsibility to enable sustainable businesses. They deliver integrated energy solutions that empower organizations with greater control, insight, revenue generation opportunity, efficiency, on-site generation and renewables. Centrica Business Solutions is owned by Centrica plc, an international energy services and solutions business.

About Con Edison

Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $12 billion in annual revenues and $62 billion in assets. The utility delivers electricity, natural gas and steam to 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y.