Published on July 30th, 2013 | by Silvio Marcacci1
$23 Million Energy Storage Research Center Launched In New York State
New York State is making an aggressive push to expand smart grid and renewable energy, and now a public-private project could combine the two through energy storage innovations.
New York’s Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST) and Dutch company DNV Kema have announced a $23 million joint investment to build the Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) testing and commercialization center in Rochester, New York.
Construction has already begun on the BEST center in an abandoned section of the former Eastman Kodak business park, and when complete, it will boast 17,000 square feet of world-class testing and commercialization facilities designed to accelerate commercial deployment of energy storage technologies.
Public-Private Partnership Potential
BEST will represent a unique opportunity for the energy storage industry. Testing facilities will be offered from single cells to megawatt-scale systems and services will include project development, performance validation, certification and environmental testing, and battery lifetime assessments.
The BEST project underlines the massive potential public-private partnerships hold for clean tech industries. NY-BEST, an energy storage industry consortium with more than 125 members, will gain access to advanced incubator facilities with just a $6.9 million initial investment of state grant funds, while DNV Kema will invest $16 million and relocate its existing energy storage testing operations from Pennsylvania.
Through the partnership, NY-BEST members gain access to testing facilities and expertise bringing products to market they may not typically be able to afford, while DNV Kema can expand its presence in America’s growing energy storage industry, and New York State gains a catalyst to attract new clean tech businesses.
An economic impact study commissioned by NY-BEST estimated the energy storage industry currently employs 3,000 people in New York State and represents $600 million in annual global revenue. Already home to the country’s most advanced flywheel-energy storage system, the study estimated the state’s energy storage industry could grow to more than 43,000 green jobs by 2030.
Even though BEST will only create 80 initial jobs, energy storage investments have provided a significant return on investment, and the center could wind up having an oversized impact. “This partnership will help grow New York State’s green energy economy, position the state as a global leader, and attract new private sector investments,” said Kenneth Adams, CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation.
Can Energy Storage Help Reach New York’s Smart Grid Future?
But beyond green jobs, BEST could also help speed New York State’s transition to a clean energy future. Even though the state is spending millions on transmission system upgrades, is working toward aggressive renewable energy targets, and is rolling out electric vehicle charging stations, it didn’t make a recent list of the top US smart grid states.
Hopefully, the technological innovations developed at BEST will help tie all of these growing clean energy sectors together through one of America’s smartest grids. “Energy storage is a key enabler for the transition to a reliable, sustainable, and flexible electricity supply – especially as renewable and distributed energy are connected to the grid,” said Hugo van Nispen, CEO of DNV Kema’s Americas Division.