Puget Sound Energy, RES Americas team on battery storage project

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas) have signed agreements to cooperate on launching an innovative battery storage project in Whatcom County, Washington, that could pave the way for larger scale efforts in PSE’s service territory.

Electricity will be stored in state-of-the-art battery modules that are as large as 40-foot shipping containers, the same amount of energy found in 1.7 million AA batteries, said RES Americas in a Dec. 17 statement. The battery system will be capable of providing up to 18 hours of power during an outage for the core area of Glacier. The average demand of the core part of town is estimated to be 250 kW.

The project will also perform “peak shaving,” which involves harnessing electricity when customers’ energy consumption is low, storing it, and then releasing it back into the system when demand is high, like on extremely cold days. The battery system also increases PSE’s flexibility of the power grid and supports greater integration of renewable generation, such as wind and solar power.

“Battery storage technologies are like a Swiss Army knife for the grid,” said PSE’s Patrick Leslie, project manager of Emerging Technologies. “They can provide multiple services, like backup power, reducing peak load, and helping balance out intermittent renewable energy sources.”

Puget Sound Energy is partnering with RES Americas, an established leader in the North American renewable energy industry with expertise in energy storage. RES Americas also constructed PSE’s three wind farms around the state.

“RES Americas is proud of our growing position as an industry leader in the rapidly developing field of energy storage,” said Victor Babbitt, Vice President of Energy Storage at RES Americas. “Battery storage is going to play a large role in the future of our nation’s grid. We are excited to continue our longstanding relationship with PSE to innovate for tomorrow and provide the benefits of this cutting edge technology to their customers in the Pacific Northwest.”     

PSE is working with the state Department of Commerce in developing this pilot project. In July, the Department of Commerce Clean Energy Fund awarded PSE $3.8m to engineer and construct a 2-MW, 4.4 megawatt-hours (MWh) lithium-ion battery system at the existing PSE Glacier substation near State Route 542.

PSE plans to submit applications for permits for the project later this year. Construction is expected to begin as early as June 2015.

Puget Sound Energy is Washington state’s oldest local energy company. It serves 1.1 million electric customers and more than 770,000 natural gas customers in 10 counties. 

RES Americas is a fully-integrated renewable energy company that develops, constructs, owns, and/or operates projects across the Americas. The company employs approximately 300 full-time professionals working throughout the Americas, has constructed or has under construction more than 7,000 MW of renewable energy, and offers a full suite of development, engineering, and construction services for wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage projects.

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.