1634 Richmond Avenue Energy Storage

About the Project

New Leaf Energy is working with landowners and the local community to develop an energy storage battery at 1634 Richmond Avenue in Staten Island. Staten Island is severely impacted by regular blackouts and brownouts, and the introduction of battery storage will help improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents by providing resiliency to the city’s electric grid during peak periods.

LOCATION: 1634 Richmond Ave., Staten Island, NY

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Visual simulation of the proposed project

The Benefits of Energy Battery Storage for Local Residents

In 2019, New York State set a goal to install 3,000 Megawatts of energy storage for resiliency by 2030. New Leaf is helping to meet this goal by installing energy storage facilities in many neighborhoods across New York City, including on Richmond Avenue in Staten Island, adding flexibility to a system that requires the exact matching of supply and demand at all times.

In addition to reducing the frequency of brownouts and blackouts due to hot weather, the energy storage system will provide alternatives for the energy resiliency methods currently in use. Con Edison often rolls out diesel generators to help with grid outages, but the generators bring all-day noise directly in front of homes, emit fumes, and sometimes block streets, which this project will not do.

The project will also help prevent:

  • Instances of dimmed lights
  • Loss of refrigerated and frozen items
  • Damage to grid-connected equipment
  • Inability to use air conditioning during the hottest times of the year

The battery storage system will provide these benefits to local residents without increasing utility rates to customers. In fact, through the utility agreement, neighbors can subscribe to projects like these to get a discount on their utility bills each month.

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Battery Energy Storage Safety

New Leaf takes the safety of residents near our project very seriously. To elaborate on how we value safety, below is information about our procedures, regulations and other pertinent information on how we plan to ensure the safety of those living near our projects.

New Leaf Energy only works with reputable battery manufacturers that follow the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) code and requirements. Fire Department Code 608-01 entitled “Outdoor Energy Storage Battery Systems” and NYC Fire Code Section 608 detail the rigorous screening and safety criteria for the installation of battery energy storage systems within the Department of Buildings (DOB) and FDNY’s jurisdiction. These standards include, but are not limited to, requirements for the following:

  • Third-party testing, certification, and FDNY review of the fire safety of individual module components, as well as the full battery system
  • Ventilation and exhaust
  • Fire alarm and detection
  • Fire suppression
  • Remote monitoring and communication
  • Emergency response 
  • Minimum setbacks
  • The review of both individual models of battery technologies and each proposed energy storage project by a dedicated Technology Management team within FDNY prior to installation

The proposed Tesla Megapack system for this project, like all other large-scale energy storage projects in New York City, is required to abide by this fire code as a prerequisite for installation. Given the level of detail and rigor that each technology and individual projects’ characteristics are reviewed under, this is appropriately a multi-year process to ensure adequate safety for fire responders, neighbors, and operators.

Tesla has over 2000 projects in operation worldwide that have operated without incident. Based on these statistics and intent of the project, the system is not expected to catch fire during its lifetime. However, they are designed to fail safety if a fire were ever to occur.

Frequently Asked Questions About Energy Storage

Why is New Leaf developing energy storage batteries in New York City?

Over the past several decades, the number of days with higher than 90-degree temperatures in the city have climbed and continue to increase. Six of NYC’s hottest July months over 150 years have occurred after 2010, including this past July, where the average temperature was two full degrees hotter than normal.

Why is New Leaf developing this project in my neighborhood?

Staten Island is severely impacted by regular blackouts and brownouts. These grid outages are affecting residential districts. Each summer, an estimated 370 New Yorkers die from heat-related illness. For this reason, New Leaf Energy is placing energy storage facilities in residential areas.New Leaf’s energy storage siting is based on the grid needs and Con Edison’s utility line locations. The utility lines that serve this area are shown in orange in the adjacent map, which are in residentially-zoned areas.

What does energy storage mean?

Energy storage is a group of large-scale battery units that store and produce electricity on demand. Energy storage is truly “storage” in the same way you’d think of the trunk of your car, or a shelf in your refrigerator. Electricity not needed at the moment is “placed on the shelf” (into a battery) and retrieved when needed.

Our energy storage units connect to existing electric distribution lines. The batteries charge from the utility grid and store excess electricity. They later push power onto the grid during times of need, which are often during the summer when everyone needs their AC to run on “high” and all day.

What kind of batteries will be used?

New Leaf is using Tesla MegaPack lithium-ion batteries in the energy storage battery. These batteries are the same technology used in portable electronics like cell phones, laptops, and electric vehicles, at a larger scale. 

·  Batteries charge using excess electricity overnight only

·   Batteries discharge electricity during the hottest parts of the day supplementing the energy on the grid

·   Batteries can power 4,000 average single-family homes for 4 hours during the peak demand period, helping to avoid blackouts and brownouts for residents like you

The photo (below on phones and to the right on desktops) is an example of what one of these systems look like, and is similar to what is proposed for the Richmond Avenue project. Over 5 GWh of Tesla MegaPack systems have been deployed worldwide, including a 100 MW system in Texas and 46 MW system in Alaska.

Where does the energy storage battery get its energy from?

Pursuant to an agreement with Con Edison, the battery gets its energy from Con Edison’s grid during hours not needed from other customers, when there is “extra” unused energy. The battery will return this energy to the community when it is needed.

How much noise do they make?

New Leaf’s battery will meet or be quieter than the city noise code requirements for residential districts.  New Leaf will install sound attenuation and mitigation measures to minimize any perceptible sound at adjacent homes.

Will the batteries catch on fire?

Normal proper operation of the battery does not pose a risk of fire. There are both internal and external safety features, enforced by FDNY, which follow the most stringent safety standard for energy storage than anywhere else in the country.

The safety features include:

  • A National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 15 Sprinkler System
  • A fire alarm system with thermal imaging, infrared cameras, and alert mechanism
  • An E-Stop (Emergency Stop) switch to enable the power to be cut instantly
  • A remote and central monitoring system to alert FDNY directly in the unlikely case of an emergency. The battery has been designed and extensively tested to show that the modules will not explode.

The battery will not cause a fire outside of its container, whether at a building 10 feet away or parkland hundreds of feet away.

What sort of protections are in place to protect the batteries in the event of a utility grid outage?

During a grid outage, the inverter will automatically disconnect from the grid within 2 seconds to protect line worker safety. When this happens, the battery will enter a standby or shutdown state (no charging or discharging). Energy stored in the batteries during a grid outage will remain stored in the batteries until grid power is restored, and the energy storage system is allowed to discharge again.

How will the battery be secured from vandalism?

At this and all locations, New Leaf will actively protect its battery from outside damage. The system as proposed will be surrounded by a 14’ sound walls. The energy storage cabinets and site access will be locked at all times and only necessary operations and emergency personnel will have access. It will be remotely monitored. In addition, the sounds walls completely block the system from lines of sight at street or ground level.

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About New Leaf Energy

New Leaf Energy is a national renewable energy development company that develops valuable battery energy storage, solar and wind projects. It is leading the industry forward to a decarbonized future. New Leaf Energy currently has the largest energy storage portfolio in New York City.

Attend our upcoming Open House!

We will have subject matter experts available to field your questions about the project.

Open House Details

Date: Check back soon (note: January 9th date is being rescheduled)

Location: 1634 Richmond Avenue, Our Lady of Pity Gym

Time: 6:30-8:00 pm

Register here: (TBD)

Additional Resources

Check out our “And Now, a Word from Our Environment” podcast interview with Corina Solis, New Leaf Energy’s project developer.

Video

Contact Us

Corina Solis 

csolis@newleafenergy.com

If you have comments or questions about the project, please contact us.

If your comment includes a question or a request for more information, we will be in touch soon.

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