Bahamas utility optimises grid resilience with Wärtsilä’s battery storage system

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Bahamas Power and Light Company Limited (BPL) will leverage a battery energy storage system supplied and installed by Finnish firm Wärtsilä to optimise the operations of its Blue Hills Power Station in Nassau.

The energy storage system will provide spinning reserve services to enhance the reliability and efficiency of BPL’s 132MW dual-fuel power plant.

Whitney Heastie, the CEO of BPL, said the project “will assist as we work to continue our reduction of operational costs on the island.”

Heastie added that the storage system will help ensure grid stability, reduce fuel consumption and in the process reduce greenhouse gas emissions, facilitate the integration of more renewable energy capacity such as solar and reduce the runtime hours of Wärtsilä’s dual-fuel engines at Blue Hills.

Battery energy storage is a key focus area for the Bahamas as the island seeks to achieve a target of expanding its portfolio of renewables by 30% by 2030, according to a statement.

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The battery pack will provide backup energy in the event of a failure at Blue Hills Power Station. The 25MW/27MWh storage system is able to respond in milliseconds and sustain grid reliability for a period of 30 minutes in the event of a failure at Blue Hills, according to a statement.

BPL secured funding from the Ministry of Finance and the Inter- American Development Bank to develop the project as part of the Reconstruction with Resilience in the Energy Sector in The Bahamas Programme.

The project is expected to come online in July 2022.

Risto Paldanius, Vice President, Americas at Wärtsilä Energy, added: “The path to a decarbonised future on islands pairs flexibility solutions – advanced energy storage technology and balancing thermal generation – for optimised operations and grid reliability. Storage enables this system efficiency, while at the same time opening the door to future cost savings through the integration of additional renewables into the system. It is through this smart optimisation that renewable targets become a reality.”

For island nations like the Bahamas, real-time operation of energy storage and generation assets is critical to maintaining a balance between energy generation and demand. Both generation and demand are prone to constant changes due to factors including harsh weather events, as a result, solutions such as a digital energy platform for real-time operations of the distributed assets which BPL will leverage for maximisation of its storage plant are vital.