Fixing the grid with big batteries

American Electric Power (AEP), Columbus, Ohio, as part of the company's comprehensive effort to integrate new technologies for reliability, renewable energy and energy efficiency, is expanding its use of large-scale battery technology on its electricity grid. AEP claimed to be the only U.S. utility currently using advanced energy storage technology as part of its electricity infrastructure, and...

12/01/2007


American Electric Power (AEP), Columbus, Ohio, as part of the company's comprehensive effort to integrate new technologies for reliability, renewable energy and energy efficiency, is expanding its use of large-scale battery technology on its electricity grid.

AEP claimed to be the only U.S. utility currently using advanced energy storage technology as part of its electricity infrastructure, and will be adding stationary sodium sulfur (NAS) battery technology in its West Virginia and Ohio service territories next year.

The company will also work with wind developers to identify a third location within AEP's 11-state service territory for NAS battery deployment next year, using the storage capability to help offset the intermittent nature of wind generation.

AEP has placed an order for the three new NAS batteries with NGK Insulators Ltd. of Japan, the manufacturer that co-developed the technology along with Tokyo Electric Power Co. AEP anticipates delivery in spring 2008.

The six megawatts added to AEP's system during this deployment is a step toward the company's goal of having 1,000 MW of advanced storage capacity on its system in the next decade.

“We are extremely impressed with both the performance and the potential of this technology after using it in real-world applications and from experience we've gained through our long relationship with NGK,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP's chairman, president and chief executive officer. “These new installations will move us a step closer to the full potential of advanced energy storage technologies in areas like reliability improvement, peak-load shaving and the use of stored energy from renewable sources like wind to supplement available generation resources.

According to Morris, the near-term goal is to have at least 25 MW of NAS battery capacity in place by the end of this decade. The longer-term goal is to add another 1,000 MW of advanced storage technology to the AEP system in the next decade. “We will look at the full spectrum of technologies—flow batteries, pumped hydro, plug-in hybrid vehicles and various other technologies in early stages of development today—to determine their feasibility and potential for commercial application,” said Morris.

In 2006, AEP installed the first megawatt-class NAS battery system to be used on a U.S. distribution system. That installation, on a substation near Charleston, W.Va., operated by AEP utility unit Appalachian Power, delayed the need for upgrades to the substation. A similar, but much smaller, NAS-based system installed in 2002 at an AEP office park in Gahanna, Ohio, was the first U.S. demonstration of the NAS technology.





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