The Tehachapi Energy Storage Project — the biggest battery energy storage project to date in North America — has now opened.
The 32 MWh battery energy storage system built by Southern California Edison (SCE) comprises lithium-ion batteries from LG Chem stationed in a special 6,300 square-foot facility at SCE’s Monolith substation in Tehachapi, California.
The project was built in that location owing to its proximity to the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area — which is expected to produce up to 4,500 MW of power from wind energy infrastructure in the area by the year 2016.
The project was funded with a combination of the SCE’s own funds and federal stimulus money obtained from the Department of Energy via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Explaining the purpose of the project, the DOE’s energy storage program manager, Dr Imre Gyuk, stated: “This installation will allow us to take a serious look at the technological capabilities of energy storage on the electric grid. It will also help us to gain a better understanding of the value and benefit of battery energy storage.”
The press release provides more:
The project costs about $50 million with matching funds from SCE and the DOE. Over a two-year period, the project will demonstrate the performance of the lithium-ion batteries in actual system conditions and the capability to automate the operations of the battery energy storage system and integrate its use into the utility grid.
Primary goals of the project are to demonstrate the effectiveness of lithium-ion battery and smart inverter technologies for improved grid performance and to assist in the integration of variable renewable energy resources like wind and solar power.
The battery system supplied by LG Chem is comprised of 604 battery racks, 10,872 battery modules and 608,832 individual battery cells – the same lithium-ion cells installed in battery packs for General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt.
Over the next few years, if the project proves a success, we can hopefully expect to see a larger rollout of battery storage technology solutions on the grid-scale level.
Image Credit: SCE