Southern California Edison (SCE) has opened the 32 MWh Tehachapi Energy Storage Project, which the utility describes as the largest battery-based storage installation in North America.
The $50 million demonstration project is funded by SCE and federal stimulus money awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The battery energy storage system features lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries housed inside a 6,300 square-foot facility at SCE's Monolith substation in Tehachapi, Calif. The project is located in the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area that is projected to generate up to 4,500 MW of wind energy by 2016.
The battery system, supplied by LG Chem, comprises 604 battery racks, 10,872 battery modules and 608,832 individual battery cells – the same Li-ion cells installed in battery packs for General Motors' Chevrolet Volt.
‘This installation will allow us to take a serious look at the technological capabilities of energy storage on the electric grid,’ says Imre Gyuk, energy storage program manager in the DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. ‘It will also help us to gain a better understanding of the value and benefit of battery energy storage.’
Over a two-year period, the project will examine the performance of the Li-ion batteries in actual system conditions. SCE will also evaluate its ability to automate operations of the battery energy storage system for integration with the utility grid. Primary goals of the project are to demonstrate the effectiveness of Li-ion battery and smart inverter technologies for improved grid performance and to assist in the integration of variable renewable energy resources like wind and solar power.
‘The role of energy storage in the electric grid will continue to increase with the growth of renewable energy and distributed energy systems, and our collaboration with SCE will provide key insights for current and future energy storage projects,’ says Sung-Hoon Jang, vice president of the energy solutions group at LG Chem.
For more information about how energy storage integrates with solar- and wind-generating sources to produce more effective renewable energy grids, visit the Hybrid Energy Innovations event website here.