AES offers up to 300 MW of battery storage as Indian Point option

The AES Energy Storage LLC unit of AES Corp. (NYSE: AES) is offering up to 300 MW of energy storage capability to the New York Power Authority (NYPA) under a request for proposals (RFP) issued in April.

NYPA issued the RFP under a New York State Public Service Commission order seeking options in case the two-unit, 2,040-MW Indian Point nuclear plant of Entergy (NYSE: ETR) can’t win license extensions from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Entergy has itself offered capacity out of Indian Point in this RFP, saying it is confident that it can win the license extensions and overcome other obstacles to keeping Indian Point on-line for the next 20 years.

AES Energy Storage said in a May 20 filing with the commission that its offer involves its AES New York Energy Warehouse project.

“The Project will significantly advance New York’s public policy objectives of moving toward a modern, efficient and environmentally sustainable electric power system by implementing a landmark innovative clean energy project,” AES said.
”The Project enhances electric system reliability without producing emissions in the New York load area, reduces overall system emissions and improves generation portfolio fuel efficiency. It catapults forward New York’s public policy objectives of modernizing the generation fleet, supporting clean energy and driving technology innovation to a degree unmatched by any other cost-effective reliability project.”

The company added: “Its 3 x 100 MW configuration of advanced battery energy storage units provides NYPA with the planning flexibility to select 100 MW, 200 MW or 300 MW of reliability across up to three distributed sites. Its development schedule places less value at risk during early stages, reducing the risk to NYPA and ratepayers of a Halting Order.”

The project will safely provide up to 300 MW of firm capacity to meet peak load requirements in or near New York City – where it is needed most, AES noted. It will be interconnected across three sites in Zones I, J or K in Westchester County, New York City or Long Island.

AES says its option beats out gas-fired peakers in several ways

Advanced energy storage technology is a modern emissions-free alternative to the addition of natural gas combustion turbine power plants in urban areas, AES said. “These inefficient natural gas ‘peaker’ plants produce local emissions and are very low utilization – 0-5% for the older plants of this type and 2-15% for newer ones – due to their high cost of generation,” the company added. “Comparatively, the Project contributes to reliability in all hours by being continuously synchronized to the grid, available to serve peak loads while also supporting the security and efficiency of the transmission system by providing ancillary services.”

AES said benefits of its project over gas-fired peakers include:

  • It does not require air permits. Natural gas peaking plants are often subject to run hour limitations based on their total emissions.
  • It does not have large single points of failure. Natural gas peaking plants introduce risk to system reliability of losing 100 MW of capacity at a time if a turbine equipment failure or other fault occurs. The AES project is modular – each 100-MW unit is an array comprised of 2-MW building blocks. The reliability impact of any single component failure is minimal.
  • It does not rely on natural gas transportation or storage. Natural gas peakers do not always have firm access to fuel supplies. The AES project uses electricity as fuel, so as long as it is interconnected and synchronized to the grid, it has fuel supply.

AES New York Energy Warehouse provides New York with a place to “park” clean energy close to where it is used during off-peak hours when the state’s abundant clean energy resources have unused capacity, AES said. During hours of low demand New York’s hydroelectric, wind, and natural gas combined-cycle power plants are not fully utilized. With access to AES New York Energy Warehouse, their output can be stored and used during hours of high demand, 
displacing the use of 1,200 MWh of inefficient peakers. “The
 Project provides access to a cleaner and 
more diverse fuel mix during on-peak hours 
– whether or not the Indian Point Energy
 Center retires,” AES added.

AES currently has 150 MW resource equivalent of energy storage in commercial operations and over 1,000 MW in development, the company noted, in places like West Virginia and Chile. Over five years of operations, AES’s energy storage facilities have achieved equivalent availability in excess of 95%, comparable to the best performing thermal power units, the company said.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.