ABB To Help Integrate Wind Power Into Alaskan Island Microgrid

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ABB has announced it will install its PowerStore solution, a commercial flywheel technology, to integrate with a battery system on Kodiak Island, Alaska, and enable the integration of more renewable energy from an expanded wind farm to the island's microgrid. In addition, the company says its solution will be used to address grid stability challenges that will arise from a crane upgrade meant to enhance the island's port operations.

Kodiak Electric Association (KEA), an electric cooperative owned by residents of Kodiak Island, chose ABB for the project. KEA operates a microgrid that generates virtually all of its 28 MW of electricity capacity from hydropower and wind.

ABB will incorporate two 1 MW PowerStore grid stabilization generators that are based on a spinning flywheel with ABB inverters to store short-term energy to absorb and/or inject both real and reactive power onto the microgrid. The company says the new system will help extend the life of the island's two 1.5 MW battery systems and manage the intermittencies from its 9 MW wind farm.

"Remote locations like islands may be rich in renewable energy sources, but the intermittent nature makes their integration into the power grid a challenge," says Claudio Facchin, head of ABB's Power Systems business. "ABB's innovative microgrid solution, as in this case, includes grid stabilization technology that enables high penetration of renewable power generation, and distributed control systems that provide intelligent power management and efficient hybrid power plant operation."

Furthermore, the island's port city of Kodiak, in conjunction with Horizon Lines, recently decided to upgrade its existing diesel crane to an electrically driven one. The installation of the larger crane is expected to generate power fluctuations that can be particularly destabilizing for an isolated grid like the one on Kodiak Island. ABB says the PowerStore units will provide voltage and frequency support for the new crane.

"Expanding the crane operations at the port posed a challenge because it meant that we would likely have to rely more heavily on our fossil-fuel-based generators," explains Darron Scott, president and CEO of KEA. "Not only will the ABB solution allow us to shave the peaks off the crane loads, [but] it will also reduce the stresses placed on our battery systems and extend their lifespans."

For more information on how renewable energy sources and storage can work together in effective hybrid combinations, visit the Hybrid Energy Innovations event website here.

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