Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas) have signed agreements to cooperate on launching an innovative battery storage project in Whatcom County that could pave the way for larger scale efforts in PSE's service territory.
Electricity will be stored in state-of-the-art battery modules that are as large as 40-foot shipping containers, the same amount of energy found in 1.7 million AA batteries. The battery system will be capable of providing up to 18 hours of power during an outage for the core area of Glacier. The average demand of the core part of town is estimated to be 250kW.
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, like on extremely cold days. The battery system also increases PSE's flexibility of the power grid and supports greater integration of renewable generation, such as wind and solar power.
"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 partnering with RES Americas, an established leader in the North American renewable energy industry with expertise in energy storage. RES Americas also constructed PSE's three wind farms around the state.
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 PSE $3.8 million to engineer and construct a 2 megawatt (MW), 4.4 megawatt-hours (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.