E.ON kicks off construction on Iron Horse battery/solar project in Arizona

E.ON on Oct. 31 began construction on its Iron Horse battery energy storage project in Arizona, which is a customized 10-MW, lithium-ion battery energy storage facility with an adjacent 2-MW solar array.

Iron Horse is the first energy storage project for E.ON North America. The project is located in the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park, southeast of Tucson, and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2017. Iron Horse’s batteries will provide the benefits of a conventional generation system’s availability and response capability, but will be capable of responding to shifts in power demand more quickly, increasing system reliability and efficiency.

“Breaking ground on any project is exciting, but beginning construction on Iron Horse is especially exciting for us,” said Steve Trenholm, President of E.ON Solar.  “Iron Horse is an important first step as E.ON establishes itself as a player in North American energy storage. We are looking forward to delivering cost-effective energy storage projects with the same high quality that our customers have come to expect from us in wind and solar.”

In July, E.ON signed a ten-year agreement with Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to provide frequency response and voltage control through Iron Horse. TEP will use Iron Horse’s capacity to help improve service reliability for customers while studying how energy storage systems can support the expansion of solar power resources and other renewable energy technologies.

“Iron Horse is just the first of several energy storage projects we are working on, and we look forward to further building E.ON as a player in the battery storage market,” said Mark Frigo, VP of Energy Storage North America at E.ON. “Our team worked with TEP to engineer the right set of energy storage technologies to meet their needs to manage their system more efficiently and effectively, and we plan to work with our all our clients to customize solutions for their storage needs.”

In addition to providing enhanced grid stability through Iron Horse, E.ON provides energy to TEP from its 6.6-MW Tech Park Solar and 13.2-MW Valencia Solar facilities. E.ON also partnered with TEP on the turnkey construction of TEP’s 17.2-MW solar facility at the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca Army Base near Sierra Vista, Arizona.

“We’re working very hard to integrate cost effective, innovative technologies that will improve service for our customers and support our expansion of renewable energy,” said Carmine Tilghman, Senior Director of Energy Supply and Renewable Energy at TEP. “That’s why E.ON is an excellent partner for a project like this.”

E.ON has developed, built, and operates more than 3,000 MW of solar and wind renewable energy generation across the U.S., with more on the way.  E.ON SE is an international investor-owned energy supplier and will in the future be focusing entirely on energy networks, customer solutions and renewables. E.ON is headquartered in Essen, Germany.

TEP provides electric service to approximately 417,000 customers in southern Arizona.

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.