In the US, Georgia-based electric utility Southern Company has unveiled the largest energy storage research project in its operating system – set up to test and evaluate a 1MW/2MWh lithium-ion battery storage system.
Southern Company said the project is purposed to evaluate how battery storage systems can create value for customers.
The technology used in the system is similar to the battery chemistry used in electric vehicles, said a company statement.
The utility believes that energy storage has the potential to assist greatly in the integration of renewable energy to reduce prices for customers, as well as offer the ability to further enable the smart grid, helping utilities meet their customers’ needs.
Southern Company executive vice president and chief operating officer Kimberly S. Greene said: “As a national leader in innovation, Southern Company recognises the value for customers of inventing the future of energy.
“With the new Cedartown battery demonstration, we are taking an important step forward in the research, development and deployment of energy storage technologies that create better ways to deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable power to the families we serve.”
Battery storage enabling smart utilities
The utility is reported to have long viewed the development of efficient, economic energy storage as a potential “game changer” for renewable energy.
Greene added: “Renewable resources, such as solar and wind, are inherently variable and intermittent – generating electricity only when the sun shines or the wind blows.
“Cost-effective battery storage could provide a viable solution to better manage and integrate renewables into the power grid.”
The battery storage research project is located on the site of a 1-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) facility owned and operated by WGL Energy – an energy provider offering natural gas, electricity, green power, carbon reduction, distributed generation and energy efficiency.
The solar facility forms part of Southern Company’s Georgia Power’s Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI), which through the programme, has allowed the utility to add a significant amount of solar generation in Georgia – without pushing up customer’s rates.