Chicago-area battery storage projects announced

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Energy developer Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. has announced two grid-scale energy storage projects near Chicago.

Battery-based energy storage projects can offer benefits to the electricity grid by keeping the alternating current's frequency steady, and can do so at a lower cost than alternatives like ramping generators up and down.  Thanks in part to new federal policies, battery projects capable of providing frequency regulation can now earn increased revenue for their owners. 

This week RES Americas announced plans to pursue two energy storage projects in Illinois.  The company describes itself as a specialist in third-party development and construction services for the renewable energy, transmission, and energy storage industries.  It also builds renewable energy and storage projects that it owns itself.

In an apparent tribute to the Blues Brothers, its two newly announced projects will be named Jake and Elwood.   The Elwood Energy Storage Center will be sited in West Chicago, while the Jake Energy Storage Center will be in Joliet.  Beyond names and locations, the projects bear greater resemblance to each other than to the Blues Brothers.  Both projects were acquired from Glidepath Power in September.  Each will be interconnected to the Commonwealth Edison Co. electric grid, and will have an operational life expectancy of at least ten years.  Each will use lithium iron phosphate batteries with a 19.8 megawatt capacity, capable of storing 7.8 megawatt-hours of energy.

RES Americas expects to begin construction on both projects this winter, and to complete them by August 2015.  When complete, the battery projects will be able to provide real-time frequency regulation service to the PJM Interconnection LLC ancillary services market.  Thanks to recent federal orders including FERC Order No. 784, faster and more accurate regulation resources -- like battery storage arrays -- should be compensated more highly.  These policies both increase consumer demand and reduce developers' barriers to entry into battery-based energy storage projects.

Other battery projects are moving forward, based on values other than frequency regulation.  Last month, Southern California Edison Company brought its Tehachapi Wind Energy Storage Project online.  That $50 million project, the largest currently operating in North America, is capable of storing 32 megawatt-hours, deliverable as an 8 megawatt stream of energy for 4 hours.  The Tehachapi system is designed to help even out the flow of power produced by wind farms, which is naturally variable and intermittent.  Battery systems can also be designed to improve local reliability, support microgrids, or serve as non-transmission alternatives to building more utility wires.

For more information about battery energy storage projects, recent policies favoring energy storage and the opportunities they create, contact Todd Griset at Preti Flaherty at 207-791-3000.

1 comment:

Michael Maloney said...

It's good to see other storage options for power and energy being implemented. Best to get the different methods streamlined though. At the end of the day, being wishy washy about how energy is being stored affeccts consumers most of all!

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