Arizona Public Service lines up 4 MW of battery installations with AES

Arizona Public Service (APS) said Dec. 8 that it is bringing battery-based energy storage to the desert through a 4-MW agreement with AES Energy Storage.

The pair of 2-MW AES Advancion energy storage arrays will be deployed as part of the APS Solar Partner Program (SPP) and represent AES’ first installation in Arizona. APS’s Solar Partner Program studies the use of smart inverters and energy storage to examine how best to integrate solar onto the grid in areas with a high penetration of solar while still maintaining reliability for customers. Through SPP, more than 1,500 customers had photovoltaic rooftop solar panels, totaling 10 MW, installed on their homes at no charge, and receive a $30 monthly bill credit for the next 20 years for their participation. The information APS gains from this study will help craft what the future of renewable energy integration looks like for utilities across the country.

“The best renewable energy is the type a customer never thinks about. A light goes on, a load of towels gets washed and life goes on as reliably as ever before, all powered by the sun,” said Scott Bordenkircher, APS’s director of technology innovation. “This is the future APS looks toward as it studies energy storage.”

The two Advancion battery arrays will be installed in Surprise and Buckeye, which have a total of 120 SPP customers and a high penetration of solar. The batteries will deliver energy to customers at the time of day when electricity is in the greatest demand and is most expensive. By bringing energy storage to these areas, APS can maintain reliable service for solar customers, even when the sun is down and solar panels are no longer producing power.

APS anticipates Arizona’s energy needs will be approximately 25% higher by 2025. The company plans to meet 50% of that growth with renewable energy and energy efficiency.

“The customer of the future’s home will be powered by resources that are cleaner and smarter,” Bordenkircher said. “Using initiatives such as the Solar Partner Program, we are studying how best to deploy advanced technology to better integrate clean energy while maintaining reliability and cost effectiveness for our customers.”

AES’ Advancion has more than 3 million megawatt-hours of delivered service across a fleet of deployed energy storage projects spanning three continents. In 2015, AES opened up the Advancion platform to third-party ownership, and this project with APS will be among the first utility-owned Advancion battery storage arrays.

“Energy storage offers Arizona Public Service a powerful, flexible tool for their network as they procure more of their energy from renewable sources,” said AES Energy Storage president John Zahurancik.

Installation of the pair of 2-MW Advancion energy storage arrays began in November 2016. They are expected to become operational in early 2017.

AES Energy Storage, a subsidiary of AES Corp. (NYSE: AES), is a leader in commercial energy storage solutions, which improve flexibility and reliability of the power system, and provide customers with a complete alternative to traditional peaking power plants. AES Energy Storage introduced the first grid-scale advanced battery-based energy storage solution in commercial operations in 2008 and operates the largest fleet of battery-based storage assets in service today. AES Energy Storage has a total of 436 MW of interconnected energy storage, equivalent to 872 MW of flexible resource, in operation, construction or late stage development in seven countries.

APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties. Using a balanced energy mix that is nearly 50% carbon-free, APS has one of the country’s most substantial renewable energy portfolios, and owns and operates the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the country’s top power producer and largest producer of carbon-free energy. APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).

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.