The Snohomish County (Wash.) Public Utility District (SnoPUD) and 1Energy Systems are partnering to develop and deploy an energy-storage system that they hope will encourage utilities to increase their use of renewable energy and improve their overall reliability.
Under the partnership, 1Energy will provide a 1 MW battery energy-storage system, built on modular energy-storage architecture (MESA). The system, which is based on commercially available batteries, will be housed in a standard shipping container, which will be installed at a SnoPUD substation.
Unlike conventional energy-storage systems, MESA provides a standard, scalable approach to energy storage in which electric utilities or grid operators can choose interoperable components – batteries, power converters and software – to meet their specific needs and use cases, SnoPUD explains.
Because wind and solar power generation is intermittent, and not always available during peak energy demand hours, energy storage can make clean energy available wherever and whenever it is needed. While clean energy generation costs continue to decline, energy storage is the critical element needed to foster renewable energy growth, SnoPUD notes.
Alstom Grid and faculty from the University of Washington will join the initiative to collaborate on the research, analysis and design of technology interfaces, SnoPUD says. 1Energy will lead the selection of future MESA partners, who will provide batteries, power conversion and balance-of-system components.
Alstom Grid will work with 1Energy to build MESA interfaces into its control-center software platforms, used by SnoPUD. University of Washington faculty will provide electrical engineering, power systems and computer-science research expertise to the MESA project.
"[The project] will bring major equipment and software companies together to establish the appropriate industry standards and interfaces to make storage more economically and operationally viable for the entire electric utility industry," explains Steve Klein, SnoPUD's general manager.
"This approach is much different than other energy-storage projects in the past and should result in the expanded application of plug-n-play type energy-storage systems to help solve the expanding needs of today's electric grid that depends more and more on intermittent resources, such as wind and solar," he adds.