General Electric will be providing Con Edison with an 8 MWh energy storage system
for a site in Central Valley, California, according to a recent press release sent to CleanTechnica. The system will use lithium-ion batteries with a GE Mark Vie control system and Brilliance inverters.
“We have a history of working with GE in thermal and wind, and we are pleased to continue our long-standing collaboration into the evolving world of energy storage. “GE brings a strong technical solution, along with performance guarantees,” stated Mark Noyes, from Con Edison Development.
If you have been following the budding energy storage industry, you may recognize 8 MWh as being on the large side. Many energy storage systems are rated at 1 to 3 MWhs. The system will provide up to two megawatts of electricity for up to four hours at a time. This is the first energy system of its kind that GE will deliver.
Two things jump out to me about this story. The first is that GE is getting involved at this level, and the second is that it is for a utility-scale project. In other words, renewable energy sometimes is dismissed as being something for “enviros,” “tree huggers,” or “hippies” but Con Edison Development is a subsidiary of a very large energy company, Con Edison, and GE is a corporate giant. The decision to employ energy storage systems in this case is a business choice, not a personal one.
“GE is committed to the energy storage business. Our goal is to help our customers provide flexibility across the grid by combining our expertise in plant controls, power electronics, systems engineering, and fundamental battery knowledge. The recent addition of lithium-ion technology complements our Durathon battery offering and gives customers more flexibility in meeting their specific site application needs,” explained Jeff Wyatt, general manager of GE’s solar and energy storage units.
General Electric is obviously a huge player, and as such, it makes one pay attention. While not a bad thing, stationary energy storage generally seems to be more of a startup or small company concern — at least it has been. When such a large corporation gets into the game, one might expect it does so with a seasoned perspective.
When very large and well known companies enter into relatively young clean energy markets, and ones that are better for the environment, perhaps it quiets some of the unfounded criticism that has dogged renewable energy for some time.
One reason that there has been steady resistance to alternative energy in some quarters is due to the deep pockets of some huge companies and their lobbying efforts. When large companies become involved in their own alternative energy projects, this participation could be seen as signal that the industry is maturing, and these large companies can put their political weight behind the transformation. How far are we from the mainstreaming of energy storage?
Image Credit: Coolcaesar, Wiki Commons