For the last 35 years, Pennoni has been supporting Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE), a subsidiary of the Exelon Corporation and Maryland’s largest gas and electric utility, with a variety of design and engineering projects. These projects include gas and electric residential service upgrades and reconnects, 5G antenna power supply, commercial and industrial development and green technology initiatives including solar and energy recovery from landfill off gassing.
Recently, there has been interest in exploring alternate energy storage methods that are more sustainable. To help BGE pursue this initiative, Pennoni is joining a pilot program to gauge the effectiveness of using Tesla battery storage technology. Theses batteries, called Powerpacks, are roughly the size of a large refrigerator and are assembled at the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. They are housed in a large enclosure with various monitoring and cooling equipment and are set on poured slabs and tied to the grid.
Although battery storage can be relatively costly, it can be compared to natural gas plant leakers, which can ramp up and down for peak demands. 396 of these batteries can power roughly 15,000 homes for at least four hours.
This technology represents BGE’s attempt to support mildly overloaded distribution systems throughout BG&E’s portion of the electrical grid. With this pilot program, BGE hopes to reduce the excess load in the Chesapeake Beach area in Calvert County, Maryland. This project is a cooperative endeavor between BGE and a private developer to further the green grid. The results of this program’s future success will enable BGE to save millions on future development and expansion of the grid in the area, as well as diminish the felt effects of future outages by storing excess energy and releasing it during an outage.
This project includes a Tesla battery storage unit that will store up to 2MWh of energy and be able to release it back into the system at specified times. The system will charge from existing 13.2Kv distribution in the area that will flow through and be stepped down to 480V by a customer installed transformer.
Pennoni provided BGE with interconnection design and engineering services focusing on cable sizing, fault current study, equipment, selection, layout and a cost write-up. We are also responsible for coordination between the developer and BGE, working alongside BGE’s system planning and green power team as well as other departments in coordinating timelines, project requirements and permitting.
Mike Baker, the division manager of the Columbia Utility Division in our Columbia, Maryland office, has been working with BGE for over 20 years and received the request for Pennoni to help with the pilot. Patrick Hackley, an engineering designer from the Columbia, Maryland office, is the project manager.