Washington-based utility Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas) have signed agreements to partner on a battery storage project in Whatcom County, Wash., that could pave the way for larger-scale efforts in PSE's service territory.
The partners say electricity will be stored in battery modules that are as large as 40-foot shipping containers, and the system will be capable of providing up to 18 hours of power during an outage for the core area of Glacier, whose average demand is estimated to be 250 kW.
The battery system will increase PSE's flexibility of the power grid and supports greater integration of renewable generation, such as wind and solar power. The project will also perform ‘peak shaving,’ which involves harnessing electricity when customers' energy consumption is low, storing it, and then releasing it back into the system when demand is high, such as on extremely cold days.
‘Battery storage technologies are like a Swiss Army knife for the grid,’ says PSE's Patrick Leslie, project manager of emerging technologies. ‘They can provide multiple services, like backup power, reducing peak load, and helping balance out intermittent renewable energy sources.’
PSE is working with the state's Department of Commerce in developing this pilot project. In July, the state's Department of Commerce Clean Energy Fund awarded the utility $3.8 million to engineer and construct a 2 MW, 4.4 MWh lithium-ion battery system at the existing PSE Glacier substation near State Route 542. PSE plans to submit applications for permits for the project later this year. Construction is expected to begin as early as June 2015.
RES Americas notes it also constructed PSE's three wind farms around the state.
For further information on how energy storage can be integrated with renewable energy to create more resilient electricity grids, visit the Hybrid Energy Innovations event website here.