NY apartment building provides grid management services with installation of battery, software

Credit: Avalon White Plains | AvalonBay Communities.

This week DISTRIBUTECH Initiate! participant Logical Buildings announced that it has installed the first indoor lithium-ion battery storage unit in New York State at Avalon White Plains, a rental property in NY.

The circa 2008 master-metered building is now part of a demand-response initiative in which a 144-kW battery bank discharges at peak hours to support the electricity grid when under stress; and re-charges at off-peak times to take advantage of low cost, low carbon emission power.

The battery is able to serve as a generator in the event of power outages.

“The Northeast has traditionally lagged behind the West Coast in battery installation and AMI meter-based grid responsive building technology. But this project paves the way for buildings in the region to take advantage of the most efficient battery tech,” said Jeff Hendler, CEO of Logical Buildings.

The indoor installation of the lithium-ion battery, which is comparable in size to two side-by-side refrigerators, required new safety guidelines commensurate with the revolutionary technology. Building codes were updated and an intensive review process initiated by the City of White Plains included industry peers and utility provider Con Edison.

With support from NYSERDA, Logical Buildings said it was able to navigate funding and permits from the various entities. Moreover, through the leadership demonstrated by AvalonBay and Logical Buildings, it is anticipated similar indoor battery installations will be implemented in other high-density areas throughout the state, including New York City.

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Hendler continued, “In addition to taking pressure off the grid and contributing to de-carbonization, the program is providing significant savings in utility costs at the building. We have worked with AvalonBay on several utility grid-resiliency programs over the years, but this was an especially cooperative endeavor that will have far-reaching benefits for their properties and beyond.”

On July 27, the battery participated in a two-hour demand-response event called by local utility, Con Edison. The building provided ~100kW from discharging the battery and another ~50kW by reducing demand from other systems, such as cooling and lighting.

AvalonBay purchased both the Stem battery and its proprietary Athena AI software analytics systems to reduce daily peak demand through charging and discharging. Logical Buildings worked with Stem to integrate the demand-response signals being received by its SmartKit AI software into battery demand-response algorithms that automatically optimize battery discharge during four-hour load reduction windows.

“The battery system transforms Avalon White Plains into a hybrid smart building, which intelligently sources power from the grid and onsite battery based on multiple parameters, including electricity pricing, billing demand, building systems, and grid conditions,” added Abhay Ambati, Senior Vice President, Technology Services at Logical Buildings. “Beyond adding resiliency and cost savings for the Avalon community, the battery will support important environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, such as the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.”

“With the White Plains battery, we have reached another important milestone in our decarbonization journey,” noted Mark Delisi, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Energy Management at AvalonBay. “The future of AvalonBay is one that will source clean, renewable energy for our communities in combination with onsite storage. We learned a great deal in partnership with Logical Buildings, STEM, and NYSERDA, which will serve us well in future applications.”

Immediately after going live in June during the first heatwave of the summer, the lithium-ion battery was able to offer 50kW of demand reduction at the building for two consecutive days. It is anticipated the battery will deploy at least four times per month over the summer.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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