Maui Electric adds battery storage system

Maui Electric Company (MECO) in Hawaii has commissioned the second battery-based storage system to be connected to its grid, and the first long duration storage solution.

The system, built and installed by A123 Energy Solutions, includes at its core the company’s long duration grid battery system, and can provide 1MW of output for up to one hour to help the utility increase electric grid operational efficiency, stability, and power quality. Called “a key component” of the island’s smart grid project, the storage system will also provide peak-load shifting, voltage regulation, reactive power support, and wind curtailment relief.

The installation is the second storage system installed on the island in the past five months, company officials said in a June 3 statement announcing the project’s commissioning. The existing system is an 11 MW high-rate system; the new long duration system is the island’s first.

A123 Energy Solutions provided the storage system as a turnkey solution, performing the engineering, procurement, construction, and installation and testing. The system was packaged in a 20-foot container and shipped to an existing MECO substation fully assembled, then installed and tested before being connected to the grid.

“The entire process took about five weeks from start of construction up to the completion of commissioning,” Bud Collins, President of A123 Energy Solutions, said. A123’s long duration grid battery system can be configured from as little as 100kW to large multi-megawatt arrays, according to the company. The battery system can be packaged in a variety of different enclosures, ranging from standardized 20-foot, 40-foot, and 53-foot long containers to custom enclosures, and the systems are also available for installations in pre-existing buildings or other locations.

A single 53-foot battery system can deliver 4MW of energy for a full hour, and is designed for applications like peaking, shifting, capacity firming, or transmission and distribution support.

The long duration and high-rate systems are designed to be complementary, according to the company. While the long-duration systems can provide power output for up to an hour, the high-rate storage products are used for high power demand applications in the 15-minute timeframe, including frequency response and regulation, and managing the variability of renewable generation.