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New England Battery Storage LLC's facility in Madison, Maine.

At its December 15 meeting, the Site Plan Review Committee approved an application by New England Battery Storage, LLC, to build a battery energy storage system (BESS) that will interconnect to the Central Maine Power (CMP) distribution circuit. The storage system will be built on Cyro Drive, on vacant land currently owned by the Industrial Development Corporation of Sanford.

New England Battery Storage is a Boston-based company with facilities in Madison and Rumford, Maine. In addition to the Sanford site, they have proposed new operations in South Portland and Rhode Island. Jeff Perry, President of the company, told the Committee that battery storage facilities are becoming critical as more and more solar and wind power operations come on line. The batteries store the excess electricity generated by these operations, so that it can be used when needed.

The approved BESS consists of containers that will house lithium ion batteries installed on concrete pads, along with associated electrical equipment (e.g., inverters, transformers, meters, utility poles). The total project will be approximately 10,800 square feet, including a chain link fence surrounding a crushed stone yard that will house the BESS and equipment, and provide stormwater treatment. The BESS will draw power from the existing CMP circuit and discharge back to the same circuit.

Prior to the meeting, Sanford Fire Marshal Patrick Cotter had discussions with the applicants regarding fire safety and suppression at the site. Mr. Perry explained to the Committee that, because the equipment is electrical, the fire suppression system contains a chemical made specifically for electrical fires, rather than regular water sprinklers. He said the chemical can put out a fire within seconds. The company will provide training to Sanford firefighters on the system.

The BESS will be unmanned, but company personnel will visit once a week to inspect and maintain the facility. Construction is currently planned to occur from August through December of 2021.

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