Boothbay Planning Board

Power storage project gets board’s conditional approval

Posted:  Friday, July 18, 2014 - 5:00pm

The Boothbay Planning Board gave a New York City firm conditional approval to build an energy storage facility in the industrial park. The board voted 5-0 on July 16 approving Convergent Energy + Power’s application  to construct a valve-regulated lead acid battery storage facility. Convergent is leasing the property from Neal Reny. The property is located at 112 Industrial Park Road. A storage building currently is located on the 1.79 acre parcel.

Convergent plans on converting the building into a VRLA battery storage plant. Convergent officials expect the new facility to be operational and supplying energy to the grid by mid-September. The battery-powered storage system is a part of Central Maine Power’s plan to provide load reduction on its transmission line to the Boothbay region.

The battery storage system will provide 500 kilowatts per hour continuously  to the  grid, according to Convergent Energy and Power project manager Tremor Temchin, who attended the planing board meeting, along with Chief Operating Officer Frank Genova. This additional supply is expected to prevent outages during peak hours.

Acting Planning Board Chairman Fran McBrearty said this is part of CMP’s plan to supply the region with more power without assuming a large financial burden. McBrearty estimated it would cost CMP between $15-30 million to upgrade its transmission lines into the peninsula.

“Installing this 500 kilowatt battery system is kind of a good thing. It saves CMP an awful lot of money. And saves us a power rate increase,” McBrearty said.

Convergent was contracted by Grid Solar, a Portland-based renewable energy company, to construct and operate the VRLA storage facility. Grid Solar is handling the permitting process for CMP and the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Genova said Convergent’s agreement with Grid Solar runs for 10 years. He expects Convergent to enter into another agreement after the contract expires.

“This is going to save everybody money and more importantly prevent outages,” Genova said. “After the 10-year agreement ends, we expect to renew the contract for another 10.  All the assets would be paid for and we can repower the module at a cost 15 percent less than the original cost. This means more savings for everybody.”

Convergent has a three-lease agreement with Reny, and an option for an additional seven years.

Convergent’s application approval is conditional based on the selectmen granting a right-of-way easement to the property’s entrance. Code Enforcement Office Daniel Bryer Jr. said the town needs the easement due to the location of a nearby utility pole and transformer lines.

Other business

The board unanimously approved an East Boothbay couple’s application to tear down a current residence and rebuild a new one. The board granted approval to seasonal residents Winston and Christine Kipp’s plan to replace their current 1,866 square foot home and replace it with another 1,862 square foot, single family dwelling. The Kipps want a new structure for more room and storage space. The couple typically lives five months a year in the home located on 12 Seascape Drive. However, they plan to spend more time there after the new home is built.

“We’re not year-round residents, but we are starting to spend more time here each year,” Winston Kipp said. “After the house is built, we may stay until after Thanksgiving and Christmas. But we probably won’t be here in January, February and March.”

The board may cancel its August meeting. Bryer reported he’s had conversations with residents about possible applications, but at this time there are no submissions. McBrearty said the board would likely cancel the next meeting if applications weren’t received in the next couple of weeks.