Arizona utility employs battery storage to offset infrastructure investment


The utility will install two 4MWh Advancion batteries, provided by AES Energy Storage. The project is aimed at offsetting investment into traditional transmission and distribution infrastructure.

According to Energy Storage News, the use of energy storage to replace or complement the role of traditional wires, cables and substations has long been talked about, but there has been little in the way of traction. It adds that for the most part, utility-scale storage systems are providing grid-balancing or renewable integration,or both, rather than being seen as an alternative to transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure spending.

Scott Bordenkircher, APS’s director of transmission and distribution technology innovation and integration, said: “This project is a crucial step in the right direction for Arizona’s energy future. Over the next 15 years, APS has plans to add 500MW of storage capacity. This project is indicative of the type of smart grid APS envisions for customers, one that enables people to have more technology in their own homes.”

Solar battery storage

Arizona Public Service is currently using batteries to store excess solar power for use after sunset, with the batteries storing energy to use at peak times and for other functions such as voltage support.

Bordenkircher added: “We are watching as the prices come down on battery technology. Thoughtful implementation of battery storage is key to its future success. For a community like Punkin Center, the rural location, reduced implementation costs and added technological benefits make it the perfect candidate for this technology. ”

Energy Storage News notes that the battery storage system will increase power reliability to serve the community of 600 residents — who are located roughly 90 minutes northeast of downtown Phoenix.

Furthermore, the project will be constructed with the capability to boost its energy capacity if necessary over the next five to 10 years. The 4-MWh battery storage systems are expected to be operational by early 2018.