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Duke Energy leads efforts to build 2MW lithium-ion storage system in Ohio

Greensmith will provide monitoring software for Duke Energy’s Ohio project. Image: Greensmith
US utility Duke Energy has teamed up with battery provider LG Chem and storage software provider Greensmith to build a 2MW lithium-ion battery-based energy storage system in Ohio.

The storage project is designed to assist in regulating electric grid frequency for the regional transmission organization PJM, which powers much of the eastern US.

The system will be built at Duke Energy's W.C. Beckjord coal-fired power plant in New Richmond, which was retired in 2014. The storage system is expected to be operational by late 2015.

LG Chem will deliver the project's integrated operating system, comprised of advanced lithium-ion batteries. Use of lithium-ion batteries in utility-scale energy storage is a fairly recent development, having traditionally been used in small-scale systems such as EVs and consumer electronics.

According to the latest ‘U.S. Energy Storage Monitor’, a quarterly report from GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association, the US deployed 5.8MW of energy storage in the first quarter of the year, up 16% form Q1 2014, while lithium-ion technology dominated with 5.4 MW of the quarter’s activity.

Phil Grigsby, Duke Energy's vice president of commercial transmission, said the battery system helps grid operators by instantaneously absorbing excess energy from the grid or releasing power in seconds. This contrasts with traditional power plants that can take more than 10 minutes to ramp up to address energy shortfalls.

Grigsby added: "This accurate and rapid response will help improve the overall reliability and economic efficiency of the grid. It also demonstrates the capabilities of new technologies and the potential for future applications, such as large-scale integration of renewable energy onto the grid."

Duke Energy currently owns nearly 15% of the grid-connected, battery-based energy storage capacity in the US, according to independent research firm IHS Energy. With the addition of the Ohio project, the utility will operate a total of 4MW of energy storage at Beckjord, where it already operates a 2MW storage system.

Duke Energy becomes one of a number of US utilities increasing their battery energy storage capacity. For example last December, Southern California Edison was required by the regulator, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), to procure nearly 2,200MW of generation resources, of which 50MW should be energy storage projects. Instead SCE awarded 235MW of battery energy storage projects, a significantly higher amount than the mandate.

For Duke Energy’s Ohio project, Greensmith, which launched its latest simulation and modelling software in April, will provide intelligent energy storage control, analytics software and system integration services. Meanwhile, motion and control technology firm Parker Hannifin will provide a 2MW power conversion inverter.

John Jung, Greensmith chief executive said the system “exemplifies how utilities can leverage grid-scale energy storage to improve operations and increase profitability.”

GTM expects the US to deploy 220MW of energy storage over the whole of 2015.

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