Located in Everett, Wash., SnoPUD has now brought online two energy storage systems at utility substations. The battery storage systems aim to transform the marketplace and how utilities manage grid operations. They also are designed to improve reliability and the integration of renewable energy sources, which are rapidly growing in the Pacific Northwest.
The projects were made possible in part by a $7.3 million investment from the Washington State Clean Energy Fund. The SnoPUD systems are built using an innovative approach known as Modular Energy Storage Architecture (MESA). It offers a non-proprietary and scalable approach to energy storage.
“What sets MESA apart from other energy storage efforts is that it utilizes standard interfaces between equipment components, such as the power conversion system, batteries and control system,” said SnoPUD Senior Manager of Planning, Engineering & Technical Services Jason Zyskowski. “The MESA approach brings more choices for utilities, reduce projects’ complexity and ultimately lower costs.”
MESA was developed by an industry consortium of electric utilities and technology suppliers for the purpose of clearing barriers to growth in energy storage.
Two Systems, Two Technologies
SnoPUD’s first energy storage system includes two large-scale lithium ion batteries, one manufactured by GS Yuasa International Ltd. and supplied by Mitsubishi and a second manufactured by LG Chem. Parker Hannifin manufactured the power conversion systems and battery containerization.
In spring 2017, SnoPUD also completed deployment of its second system, comprised of multiple advanced vanadium flow batteries, built by UniEnergy Technologies. By capacity, it is the world’s largest containerized vanadium flow battery storage system. Together with the lithium ion batteries, these systems will store enough energy to power nearly 1,000 homes for eight hours.
The vanadium flow batteries and control systems are housed in 20 shipping containers, each 20 feet in length, packed with tanks of liquid electrolyte solution. While this technology requires a larger footprint than lithium ion systems, it can store 70 percent more energy and has a longer lifetime.
One of the challenges with past energy storage projects is that each one has been its own black box project. Each of these projects have required a lot of non-recurring engineering costs that are required to make the battery system talk to the power conversion system and talk to the utility systems such as SCADA and DMS. The MESA software creates a common thread. It’s what knits all these things together in a way that promises to unlock the full potential of energy storage.