Megawatt Energy Storage Projects Debut in Hawaii

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Texas-based Xtreme Power is one of the leaders of the energy storage world, designing and manufacturing large-scale solid-state energy storage and power management systems called Dynamic Power Resources for solar and wind power applications.
CEO Carlos Coe talked with CleanTechies about developments in the energy storage field.
CleanTechies:   You have two energy storage projects in Hawaii.
Carlos Coe:  The first project is on the island of Maui and it’s affiliated with the wind farm that’s on that island. And that project is a 1.5 megawatt project in size going on a 30 megawatt wind farm.  So that project was put into service the middle part of last year and has been in service since then and has done very, very well.
CleanTechies:  Any glitches?
Coe:  I think in any kind of power project, you have some normal construction kinds of things. But overall, I’d say the project has been very successful. And we are currently working on a 15 megawatt unit that will go with a 30 megawatt wind farm to go on the island of Oahu.
CleanTechies: It seems it’s finally time for the large megawatt projects to start arriving.
Coe: Yeah. So everything we’re doing probably from this point forward are basically all large projects, like either wind or solar, and then the other category we’re working on are projects that are tied primarily to a utility associated with grid support functions.
CleanTechies: Where do you see everything heading over the next year to two?
Coe:  I see the rapid adoption of these kind of technologies and we see our project size and scope continuing to increase. One of the things that’s unique about the projects we’re current engaged in and the ones we see in the future are that they are basically requiring us to do multiple functions at the same time.
CleanTechies: Are you seeing a lot more interest in storage than last year?
Coe:  Yes. And I think that in addition to those funded projects, we see a lot of what I call straight commercial projects, projects that are being done for commercial merit only and not being supported by some kind of grants or loan projects.
CleanTechies: You worked for Whirlpool and Ford.  What’s your take on home installations and vehicles selling back to the grid?
Coe:  I think that we’re going to be very much involved in the infrastructure development required to do this. What we mean by that is that if everybody buys electric vehicles and goes home and plugs it in to charge it up, it’ll collapse the grid. There’s not enough power on the grid to support everybody charging their cars at the same time. So we’re going to represent potentially an infrastructure project to allow, for example, stationary batteries to charge batteries in vehicles. And we see that as being another potentially large market for us.
CleanTechies: Do you think everything will be led by batteries?  Or will thermal or compressed air play a role?
Coe:  I think there’s a play for all these types of technologies. We have very close relationships with our friends in the thermal storage arena, particularly affiliated with air conditioning type systems. And there’s a close association between what they do and what we do and the fact that, in some cases, we’re collaborating on projects. Because in some cases those projects make a lot of sense that there’s some thermal storage involved in it, and along with what I call direct energy storage, like what we provide.
CleanTechies: Is there a “storage central” for the developing industry in the United States?
Coe:   Actually, it’s kind of interesting. You know California has a bill before the legislature to pass, just like they passed a (Renewable Portfolio Standard) for wind and solar. They’re talking about passing an RPS standard that would include a storage requirement. So small changes like that can actually move the market around. But we actually see the market for storage pretty universally across the board. The demand for it outside the United States might be even stronger than it is within the United States.
photo: Hawaiian Sea

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Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

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