Duke Energy announced plans to install two utility-grade lithium-ion batteries in Western North Carolina. One, with a power rating of 9 megawatts, will be located at Duke’s substation off Sweeten Creek Road and serve the Rock Hill neighborhood in Asheville. The other, rated at 4 megawatts, will serve Hot Springs in Madison County. Both projects will help ensure consistent service in the face of rising demand, and both should be completed sometime in 2019. Duke is also considering integrating the Hot Springs battery installation with a solar system. The $30 million investment is the latest announcement from the Western Carolinas Modernization Plan, which actually only commits to providing 5MW of battery storage for the region. One of the plan’s first proposals, to transmit power generated in South Carolina to the Asheville area, was shot down over public protest. Duke has since agreed to replace the coal-powered generator at its Lake Julian plant with two gas-fired units, and it is working with community activists to eliminate the need for a third, peak-power generator. Currently, the only utility-grade battery installation in the region is in Haywood County, and it works with a solar system to power a communications tower. More projects will be announced early next year as Duke files proposals with the North Carolina Utilities Commission.