Gowanus empty lot becomes modern Con Ed energy hub

June 24, 2021 Editorial Staff
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Charging stations for public, power storage for high-demand ahead


Con Edison and a business partner plan to turn an empty lot in Brooklyn into an energy hub with a battery electric storage system and 18 publicly available electric vehicle chargers.

Con Edison has issued an award letter to Centrica Business Solutions, which has clean energy projects in Europe and North America, for a battery system and EV chargers at 223 Nevins St. in Gowanus.

This project will be the first in New York City that combines energy storage and electric vehicle charging.

Con Edison owns the lot, which is between Baltic and Butler streets, and once planned to build an electrical substation there. But the company’s forecast of energy needs in the area indicates it does not need the substation in the short term.

The 18 direct-current fast electric vehicle chargers provide up to 350 kilowatts and can fully charge a vehicle in less than an hour. The charging power of direct-current fast chargers can vary, meaning that the charging time also varies.

The electric vehicle chargers will be part of a Con Edison demonstration project. Con Edison will publish public updates on the progress of the demonstration project, ultimately sharing findings and conclusions that will help planners make future fast-speed EV charging hubs as efficient as possible.

223 Nevins St., now an empty lot, will soon be jumping with electric power, courtesy of Con Edison and Centrica Business Solutions. Photo courtesy of Google Map

The battery 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 with high energy demand.

“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,” said Tim Cawley, the chief executive of Con Edison. “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.”–>

Con Edison will connect the battery system and chargers to its grid and install transformers and other equipment.

Centrica will charge the batteries with power from Con Edison’s grid during the overnight hours, when the demand for power is lower and power is less expensive. The company will then sell power from the batteries to the wholesale energy markets as part of its optimized virtual power plant.

Centrica will make lease payments to Con Edison for use of the land.

In addition to all the high-tech equipment, a new rain garden will help manage rainwater, adding to the 95 bioswales (landscape areas designed to retain water) in the Gowanus watershed that reduce overflow while providing greenery and native plant species. They also include 11 rain gardens built and maintained by Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

The project is expected to be online by the summer of 2022, according to signs posted at the site by Con Edison.

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