Sumitomo invests in 6-MW battery project in Ohio; looks at other such investments

Sumitomo Corp., together with Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (collectively caled “Sumitomo Corporation Group”), announced April 21 their investment in an innovative battery power storage system which will provide a reliable and stable supply-demand balancing service for the frequency regulation market operated by PJM Interconnection.

Sumitomo acquired an interest in Willey Battery Utility LLC (WBU) from Renewable Energy Systems Americas (RES), the U.S. renewable energy developer/constructor, through Perennial Power Holdings, a U.S.-based subsidiary of the Sumitomo Corporation Group. WBU will own this battery energy storage system (maximum output: 6 MW, energy capacity: 2 MWh) manufactured by Toshiba Corp. This is Sumitomo’s first investment in a large-scale stand-alone battery storage facility in the United States.

With the increase in the percentage of electricity generated from renewable resources with high output variability, such as wind and solar, it is becoming increasingly important to balance and manage any difference between supply and demand efficiently and effectively, Sumitomo noted. Storage batteries like the one WBU will have at its facility in Ohio will provide the regulated power to the frequency regulation market by following the PJM instructions sent every 2 seconds. Such power has conventionally been supplied by thermal and hydraulic power generation.

PJM currently operates power grids in 13 states in the northeastern U.S. with a total generation capacity of approximately 185,600 MW, which is comparable to the total capacity of 230,000 MW for all of Japan (excluding nuclear capacity). With this project, the battery power storage system will be delivered and maintained by Toshiba, while auxiliary machinery will be supplied and installed by RES. Construction work will begin in Hamilton County, Ohio, in April 2015, and the operation is planned to commence in December 2015.

Naoyuki Hagiwara, Director, Power and Infrastucture Group, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, said: “Sumitomo plans to expand beyond the PJM frequency regulation market with entry into potential marketplaces such as Texas and California. This team brings strong expertise to future projects through the integration of technical strength of Toshiba, the manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries, the development/construction capabilities of RES with its proven track record in the construction of more than 7,700 MW of renewable energy projects (including under construction) in North America, and the knowhow of the Sumitomo Corporation Group with regard to electricity business operation, including renewable energy.”

In cooperation with its operating company, 4R Energy Corp., Sumitomo said it has been engaged in pilot projects in Japan, namely, those involving re-used batteries from electric vehicles. During these pilot operations both in and outside Japan, the Sumitomo Corporation Group aims to establish the effectiveness of battery power storage systems and will also explore the possibilities of generating future synergies from collaborations between existing power plants it operates in the United States.

Renewable Energy Systems Americas had announced on April 20 its sixth utility-scale energy storage project, which is the 6-MW Willey Battery Storage project in Ohio. RES developed and will construct project, which will be owned by Sumitomo. The project will include three containers of lithium ion batteries manufactured by Toshiba, and three inverter units manufactured by Parker Hannifin.

Established in 1952, and headquartered in New York City, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas has eight offices in major U.S. cities. It is the largest subsidiary of Sumitomo Corp., one of the world’s leading traders of goods and services. Sumitomo continues to grow its renewable energy business and has extensive experience developing, operating and owning power generating facilities such as wind, geothermal, biomass and solar business around the world. Investments include: Mesquite Creek, a 200-MW facility in western Texas; the 845-MW Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon; two Kansas wind farms, the 131-MW Cimarron II and 168-MW Ironwood projects; the Stanton wind project, a 120-MW facility in Texas; and Desert Sunlight, a 550-MW solar power project in California.

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.