Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. has announced two grid-scale energy storage projects outside of Chicago that, once completed in 2015, will be the largest, fully commercial energy storage projects in North America.
RES Americas will develop and construct the two 19.8 MW energy storage systems, each having the ability to store 7.8 MWh of energy. The first project, Elwood Energy Storage Center, will be located on Pilsen Road in West Chicago and the second project, Jake Energy Storage Center, will be located on Brandon Road in Joliet. Construction is expected to begin on both projects this winter with completion by August 2015. The projects are expected to operate for at least 10 years. RES Americas acquired the projects during the development phase from Glidepath Power in September of 2014.
"The Jake and Elwood Energy Storage Centers represent commercial installations of cutting-edge energy storage technology," said Victor Babbitt, RES Americas' Vice President of Energy Storage. "These projects will increase the reliability and quality of ComEd's grid in these communities which, in turn, may help attract new business that demands a high-quality & reliable electricity supply. We are excited to work with our host communities in the Cities Joliet and West Chicago to make these high-tech projects a reality."
The projects will both provide real-time frequency regulation service to the PJM ancillary services market and are interconnected to the local Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) electric grid. The frequency regulation service balances the second to second variations in load and generation by absorbing excess energy during moments of over-generation and releasing energy during periods of under-generation to maintain power quality. Due to their fast response time, battery projects are much more efficient at providing this service than conventional generators. This project efficiency allows PJM to deliver higher electrical quality, higher reliability, and lower cost to electricity consumers than traditional sources.
The battery storage modules for the projects will be supplied by BYD America. These batteries utilize lithium iron phosphate, an inherently safe variant of lithium battery chemistry. The projects consist of twenty-two identical energy storage modular units (eleven per site) each of which will be a self-contained energy storage system containing thousands of individual battery cells, power conditioning equipment, safety and monitoring systems. The energy storage control and dispatch systems will be developed and provided by RES Americas. This modular approach will greatly improve system reliability and increase the simplicity of the projects' construction and operation.
The global market for energy storage is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. IHS Energy forecasts North America leading the world in grid-connected battery storage, with nearly 3.3 GWh of cumulative installations by 2020. Frequency regulation represents a small fraction of the numerous services that energy storage can provide.