Martinsville gets new AEP battery storage station to cut customers’ power bills

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Martinsville welcomed a new AEP battery storage station to help cut power costs for thousands of residents.

There’s a new spark at the end of Maple Street.

AEP Energy cleared the former substation lot in Martinsville to add three giant battery storage units.

Utilizing the power lines already in place, AEP Onsite Partners vice president of Business Development, Brian Whitlatch, said it is an ideal location.

“Not everybody loves to have a battery in their backyard,” he said. “Next to the swing sets. This is a nice area. It doesn’t have homes completely surrounding it.”

It’s AEP’s first project of this size behind a city in the U.S., according to Whitlatch.

The station can store 9 megawatts of power which can provide an hour and a half of energy to 12,000 homes.

“The battery storage station captures that excess energy when consumers are not needing it,” Whitlatch said. “And they can bring it back on nice hot summer days like we will have later today here and put that power we stored all night back on the grid.”

This will end up saving the city about $3 million to $6 million in a decade.

A sign of hope for the city as material and power delivery costs have increased.

“If we shave about one megawatt off our peak. It’s probably in the $150,000 to $175,000 range just for that one hour of peak shaving,” said Durwin Joyce, director for City of Martinsville Electric.

Coronavirus pandemic supply chain issues delayed the $10 million project. But the station started fully operating two weeks ago.

Joyce said they will have to monitor the cost from year to year before they can adjust customers’ rates.

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