Hawaii Deploys Utility-Scale Battery System As Part Of Larger Renewables Goal


Hawaiian Electric Co. has placed into service its first utility-scale battery energy storage  system (BESS), a 1 MW battery located at the Campbell Industrial Park generating station on Oahu.

The BESS is a joint demonstration project by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii and Hawaiian Electric. It also includes funding from the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

The demo will continue for two years – with a possible extension – to determine the battery’s safety, operating characteristics and effectiveness in helping to integrate more renewable energy on a circuit that already has a high level of solar, the utility says.

“To achieve our 100 percent renewable energy goal, we need to be able to smooth power flowing to the grid from variable renewable generation like wind and solar, as well as shift electricity generated when the sun is shining to when people use the most electricity in the evening,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric’s vice president for corporate planning and business development. “We are working on these capabilities both with larger, utility-scale systems like the BESS units and with ‘behind-the-meter’ batteries at business and residential customer sites – all working in unison to make clean power work.”

The centerpiece of the BESS project is an Altairnano 1 MW/250 kWh BESS, which is housed in a large shipping container. The BESS comprises batteries that store 250 kWh of energy and a corresponding inverter that changes DC to AC electricity so that the battery can export up to 1 MW of power to the grid.

The utility says the quickly responding battery can go from zero to full power output in a fraction of a second, as well as provide 250 kW of power for one hour or 1 MW of power for 15 minutes.

Also being tested are control algorithms that may be used in even larger batteries for power smoothing, voltage regulation and frequency.

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