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New York Permits 316 MW Battery Storage Project, Trading Gas Plant for World’s Largest Battery

New York’s utility regulator has approved construction on a 316-megawatt battery storage plant, a facility that, if built, would provide emissions-free power to New York City and the surrounding region while replacing a significant portion of the city’s fossil-fueled energy.

Known as the Ravenswood Development, the project aims to provide 2,528 MWh of power and would operate during peak hours, with enough storage capacity to discharge 8 hours of power during the hours of highest demand. According to the regulator, the project would stabilize the Con Edison, Inc. grid while reducing the state’s reliance on oil and natural gas.

The facility, once constructed, will be the first major use of energy storage for peaking power in the Northeast United States, making it the first project of its kind. While California and Arizona have taken steps to move towards energy storage for peaking power, battery facilities on the East Coast have been smaller and have addressed fast-response power needs as opposed to peak power.

The project’s developer, LS Power, plans to demolish and replace most of the current Ravenswood Generating System located along the East River in Long Island City, Queens, replacing 16 aging combustion turbines with the lithium-ion battery system. A well-capitalized developer and grid infrastructure owner, LS Power already owns the Ravenswood plant and would make the proposed upgrades and changes via a subsidiary. The company plans to build in three phases, with the first 129 MW phase being completed by March 2021 and with no timetable for the second and third 98 MW and 89 MW phases. If completed, the battery plant would provide electric to more than 250,000 households for up to 8 hours. In addition, by swapping a fossil fuel-driven energy source with battery technology, the system would deliver energy at peak capacity with zero local emissions.

The approval of the Ravenswood project is well aligned with the goals of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Green New Deal program, which sets a goal of 1,500 MW of storage by 2025 and 3,000 MW by 2030. The Governor’s program prioritizes storage as a clean replacement for the state’s dirtiest peak power plants, which are more likely to be located in impoverished and minority neighborhoods. The state is currently in the process of finalizing restrictions on pollution that would further limit the production of fossil fuel-powered energy and would force the shutdown of most of the state’s polluting plants.

While the regulatory approval does not guarantee that the facility will be built, if deployed fully, the storage plant would meet just over 10% of New York’s 2030 energy storage goal. In addition, this project is just the latest in a series of energy storage project announced nationwide as battery prices fall rapidly and incentives for replacing polluting plants with sustainable energy sources increase across the country. As construction moves forward on what aims to be the world’s largest battery storage facility, states and regulators will be looking to shift increasingly towards renewable energy projects such as this one.

©1994-2020 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 340

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About this Author

Member / Chair, Energy & Sustainability Practice
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Tom Burton’s zeal for innovation and passion for energy and sustainability have shaped the clean energy industry. He created one of the nation’s first clean energy legal practices. Clients ranging from investors to entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 companies rely on him for creative and strategic legal solutions, and he has completed hundreds of venture capital and private equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, and IPOs. He guides the industry’s next generation of leaders through active involvement with start-up organizations and accelerators. The Northeast Clean Energy Council recognized...

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Sahir Surmeli Energy & Sustainability Attorney Mintz Levin
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Sa is a highly skilled and versatile business counselor who advises companies, boards, entrepreneurs, investment banks and venture and private equity investors, as they build and grow companies. He handles public offerings, 144A and private financings, acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic partnerships. Sa guides public and private companies and investors, primarily in the energy and sustainability, technology, materials science, hospitality, retail and life sciences industries. Known as a problem-solver, Sa executes transactions with creative structures to address new opportunities in finance and development of new markets by clients in partnership with global corporations. He also helps entrepreneurs secure financing, commercial agreements and partnerships.

Sahir represents emerging growth and established energy technology, information technology, life sciences and retail companies, investors and investment banks in public offerings, 144A offerings and other private financings, mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic partnerships. Sa is listed among the Top 100 Cleantech & Renewables Lawyers by Euromoney’s LMG Cleantech & Renewable Energy. He was also named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Sa is a senior member of the firm’s Securities Practice Group and Technology Practice Group and serves as Co-chair of the firm's Energy & Sustainability Practice. The firm’s Energy & Sustainability Practice has completed more than 500 transactions across energy sectors totaling over $8.5 billion since 2006. Serving more than 250 clients, spanning the ecosystem from emerging companies to large corporations, venture capital and private equity funds, investment banks, project developers, and family offices, the firm is recognized nationally as a leading law firm in the space.

Sa has worked on a wide variety of capital-raising projects, including equity, debt, syndicated loan, strategic investment and structured finance offerings, with aggregate proceeds of more than $10.6 billion. He has extensive experience in corporate finance and securities law as well as mergers and acquisitions. Sa represents issuers, underwriters, initial purchasers, and placement agents in public and private equity offerings, debt offerings (particularly high-yield, but also investment grade), bank financings, leveraged buyouts, securitizations, and related transactions as well as private equity funds in leveraged buyouts. He is also a key contributor to MintzEdge, an online resource for entrepreneurs that includes useful tools and information for starting and growing a company.

Sa has an MBA in corporate finance and focuses on adding value in complex financing structures and helping younger companies navigate the challenges of the public and private markets. He handles projects in a broad range of sectors, including energy and clean technology, information technology, telecommunications, materials technology, biotech, aerospace, semiconductor, retail and hospitality. He also has extensive international experience — he previously practiced in New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong and now works from the Boston office of Mintz. He has represented clients in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

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