UniEnergy energy storage system

US municipal utility EPB partnered with energy storage firm UniEnergy and three US laboratories to assess the benefits of storage systems for grid reliability.

The Washington based energy storage firm will supply its Reflex energy storage system for integration with EPB’s 1MW solar array and advanced fiber communication network.
Researchers from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Sandia National Laboratories will then analyse the value streams, operational modes, and optimal utilisation of the solar-plus-energy storage system.

The three labs will also provide technical evaluation on how 2MW of additional solar pv power can be added on to the storage system.

The $2,5 million project falls under the US Department of Energy’s Grid Modernisation Initiative which aims to ensure the nation’s grid reliability by developing grid and renewable energy interoperability technologies.

[quote] The pilot will run  from this quarter and will lasts for at least two years.

Dr. Imre Gyuk, power storage programme manager at the DOE, said: "As third-generation vanadium flow batteries gain market share, it is essential to increase our understanding of storage value and optimization to accelerate adoption of integrated storage and renewable energy solutions among utilities.

"Cost-effective, reliable, and longer-lived energy storage is necessary to truly modernize the grid,” added Gyuk.

EPB is a Chattanooga city (Tennessee state) based utility serving 170,000 business and residential consumers in Chattanooga and North Georgia.

Energy storage by US utilities

In late February, PG&E signed a multi-year energy services agreement with flywheel energy storage provider Amber Kinetics for provision of its Gen-2 Flywheel storage systems.

The Californian-based utility contracted Amber Kinetics for 20 MW of storage using its four-hour duration Gen-2 Flywheel Systems.

PG&E said it believes that steel flywheel technology will drive down pricing, while improving operational safety and flexibility for utility-scale energy storage.

Amber Kinetics’ Gen-2 Flywheel energy storage systems are reported to be the first four-hour discharge duration flywheels. Traditionally, commercial flywheel system capabilities were measured in minutes, with limited usefulness to electric utilities wanting to integrate renewables at transmission and microgrid levels. [US transmission operator eyes energy storage potential].

The technology has unlimited cycling during their 30-year lifespan, and the flywheel systems have no degradation. The systems are 98% steel by weight, they pose no risk of fire, chemical explosion or hazardous materials release.

The flywheel systems are manufactured from readily available, abundant raw materials, and don’t require replacement at regular intervals. They are also significantly more cost-effective than battery storage technology, claims the company.

 

Image credit: UET technologies.com.