Backers dedicate cutting-edge battery backup system in California

The California Energy Commission on May 22 joined the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to dedicate EnerVault Turlock, the first grid-scale iron-chromium redox flow battery deployed in the world.

EnerVault designed and manufactured the long-duration, grid-scale energy storage system in the Silicon Valley with a combination of private funding and research and development grants from the DOE and the commission. Long-duration energy storage systems are emerging as the lynchpin to efficient operations for resilient grids as conventional power plants are replaced by variable solar and wind.

Interconnected to the distribution grid, EnerVault Turlock is co-located with a dual-axis tracking solar photovoltaic system in California’s Central Valley.

“With the support of DOE, the Energy Commission, our technical team and investors, EnerVault’s long-duration, grid-scale energy storage systems are ready to participate in California’s ground-breaking energy storage market in less than five years from our first round of funding,” said Jim Pape, EnerVault CEO. “EnerVault Turlock will demonstrate that our proprietary technology is inherently safe, reliable and cost effective. Using commodity equipment and materials, EnerVault can manufacture large scale systems quickly: no gigafactory required.”

“The EnerVault Turlock project solidifies California’s position as an incubator of companies that attract investment, and demonstrates the value of public-sector investments in energy research and development,” said Robert Weisenmiller, chair of the Energy Commission. “This storage technology will help integrate renewable energy and improve the reliability of California’s evolving electricity system. Federal and State investments were critical to taking this project from laboratory prototypes to community-scale, energy storage system in less than five years.”

“The EnerVault Turlock system demonstrates the viability of iron-chromium redox flow batteries at the grid-scale,” said Imre Gyuk, DOE Energy Storage Program Manager. “Long-duration energy storage, like EnerVault’s, is the lynchpin to grid stability as we achieve high penetration of renewable energy. We are very proud of EnerVault’s success as a member of our DOE ARRA Storage Demonstration Program as it is the first battery of its class of grantees to reach field commissioning.”

“The unique characteristics of storage devices mean they can respond quickly to supply energy to the grid when needed or store it for later use,” said Karen Edson, Vice President at the California Independent System Operator. “Storage is one of the most important emerging technologies for managing electricity production and delivery in the future, and creating a grid that is modern, flexible and can use renewable resources efficiently and effectively.”

“Energy storage has the potential to be a game changer for our electric grid, and our energy storage procurement proceeding aims to achieve improved grid optimization, integration of renewable energy, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050,” said Paul Clanon, Executive Director of the California Public Utilities Commission. “California’s multi-year energy storage procurement target of 1,325 megawatts is specifically designed to encourage the scaling of new innovative technologies and reduce costs to ratepayers. We commend EnerVault for its success and welcome innovative technologies to bid into California’s energy storage marketplace.”

The DOE ARRA Storage Demonstration Projects operate within the agency’s Office of Electricity Distribution and Energy Reliability (OE), which has a mission to lead national efforts to modernize the electric grid, enhance security and reliability of the infrastructure, and facilitate recovery from disruptions to energy supply. As part of this mission, OE has awarded 16 grants for energy storage.

EnerVault, founded in 2008, designs and manufactures long-duration, megawatt-hour scale energy storage systems based on iron-chromium redox flow battery technology pioneered by NASA. Based in the Silicon Valley, EnerVault said it is the first company to deploy megawatt-hour scale iron-chromium redox flow battery systems in field operations.

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.