Published on April 12th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan2
Alaska’s 1st Utility-Scale Wind Farm Gets Energy Storage Boost from Xtreme Power
Xtreme Power will supply a 3-MW Dynamic Power Resource (DPR) power management and energy storage system to Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) for its 9-MW Pillar Mountain Wind Project.
The Pillar Mountain Wind Project was originally 4.5 MW in size, and has been supplying KEA with nearly 10% of its electricity generation, but KEA’s satisfaction with it, combined with wind power’s cost compared to other alternatives, has triggered the company to boost the capacity to 9 MW. At 9 MW, though, KEA feels that an energy storage and power management boost would be helpful in maintaining or improving grid stability.
“We were drawn to Xtreme Power for its proven performance in renewable rich grid environments and sought to bring this same stability assurance to our Pillar Mountain Wind Project,” said Darron Scott, President and CEO of the Kodiak Electric Association. “The XP team assessed Pillar Mountain’s energy storage needs to develop a Dynamic Power Resource system that enhances grid operations while adhering to KEA’s financial targets. Together, we are furthering KEA’s goal of reaching 95 percent renewable power generation by 2020.”
“The Dynamic Power Resource will leverage its real time control system to automatically respond to grid disturbances by absorbing or releasing real and reactive power instantly and accurately,” a news release from Xtreme Power notes. “This will help KEA realize significant savings in its operating costs by maximizing the wind energy generated at Pillar Mountain without sacrificing grid stability.”
A quick look around Xtreme Power’s website shows that the company has a number of such projects up and running, and more planned. It is connected to solar projects in Hawaii and Colorado, as well as several wind projects in Hawaii and “end-user” projects in Detroit, Michigan and the South Pole in Antarctica (maybe that’s where it gets its “Xtreme” name). Right now, the company notes that it has “22 megawatts of installed systems for utilities, renewable energy developers, and microgrid operators, with an additional 55 megawatts of systems to be installed by the end of this year.”
“Our highly responsive, intelligent, and scalable energy storage and power management solution enables utilities to efficiently deploy abundant clean energy resources and brings greater flexibility to their operations,” said Alan J. Gotcher, Ph.D., President and CEO of Xtreme Power. “Achieving market penetration in new regions highlights the universal benefits of the Dynamic Power Resource for customers with varying needs, and we anticipate additional expansion as the value of energy storage is demonstrated through our projects around the world.”
Aside from utility-scale or even community-scale projects (which Xtreme power is reportedly looking to get into more), there’s also speculation that such energy companies could break into the individual house level, to help smooth out solar power intermittency and make solar an even more attractive power option than it already is. In cases where solar power can be sold back to the grid at the time of peak electricity demand, perhaps people could even use such systems to buy cheap electricity at night, store it in batteries for daytime use, and sell solar-generated electricity back to the utility in the daytime for a higher price.
All in all, energy storage is a critical and fast-growing field due to the great benefits it offers to companies, individuals, and jurisdictions looking to switch to renewable energy. The field is even more nascent than solar or wind in some respects, so there’s still a lot of uncertainty about which companies will lead us into the future. Xtreme Power certainly looks like a good contender.