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The Largest Battery Energy Storage System in North America Starts Operation

published: 2014-09-25 17:54

Tehachapi Energy Storage Project, the largest battery energy storage project in North America, is unveiled by Southern California Edison (SCE) and LG Chem. The 32MWh system is a demonstration to modernize the grid to integrate more clean energy.

Being funded by SCE and federal stimulus money awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the battery energy storage system features lithium-ion batteries housed in a 6,300 square-foot facility at SCE’s Monolith substation in Tehachapi, California. LG Chem delivered overall project and construction management, system engineering and design, and battery rack system to the project. Team members include ABB for power conversion equipment and LG-affiliate LG CNS Corp. for construction services.

“This installation will allow us to take a serious look at the technological capabilities of energy storage on the electric grid,” said Dr. Imre Gyuk, energy storage program manager in the energy department’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. “It will also help us to gain a better understanding of the value and benefit of battery energy storage.”

The project, which costs about US$ 50 million, has an objective of to validate 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. The 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.

LG Chem provides a total of 604 battery racks, 10,827 battery modules, and 608,832 individual battery cells – the same lithium-ion cells installed in battery packs for General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt—to the system. Over a two-year period, SCE will perform testing to verify the battery system’s capabilities for transmission, grid, and market applications.

“The successful commissioning of the Tehachapi Storage Project marks a key milestone for LG Chem in delivering large-scale energy storage solutions,” said Sung-Hoon Jang, vice president of the Energy Solution Company at LG Chem. “LG Chem looks forward to the continued collaboration with SCE during the next two years of system operation. The role of energy storage in the electric grid will continue to increase with the growth of renewable energy and distributed energy systems and our collaboration with SCE will provide key insights for current and future energy storage projects.”

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