Con Edison to build clean energy hub in Gowanus

New York energy giant Con Edison is planning on converting an empty lot in Brooklyn into a hub of clean energy. The new site (located at 223 Nevins Street in Gowanus) will feature a battery storage energy system with 18 publicly available electric vehicle charging stations, a departure from the company’s traditional fossil-fuel focus.

For the project, Con Edison is partnering with the award-winning energy company Centrica Business Solutions. 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.

The system is designed to be noiseless and promises on emitting zero pollutants, a nice change of pace for a neighborhood that holds the nation’s most contaminated waterway (the Gowanus Canal).

“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,” explained Con Edison Chief Executive Tim Cawley. “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.”

Chris Covell, the head of Centrica Business Solutions North America division, echoed a similar sentiment.

“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. 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.”

Once construction is completed at the hub, 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.

Con Edison’s new hub isn’t the only energy project making headlines in Brooklyn. National Grid’s plan to build a new pipeline in North Brooklyn has received heavy criticism from activists who protest the project’s reliance on fossil fuels and potential impact on air qualities. North Brooklyn residents are also upset that the pipeline would correlate with an increase in National Grid’s rates in the area.

Additionally, the city’s proposal for a massive rezoning in Gowanus was recently accepted by Community Boards 6 and 2. This change will open up the neighborhood to massive amounts of new development, which will surely increase the area’s energy needs.

Con Edison’s website currently boasts an ambitious plan for a sustainable energy future, yet it is yet to be seen how the company plans on addressing the Gowanus rezoning and other large building projects throughout the city.

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